Mrs. Ireen Nayame Chirwa joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs soon after graduating from the University of Zambia in June 1995 as an Executive Officer in charge of European Desk. She was later transferred to Cabinet Office on promotion in 2000 and served as Administrative Officer in charge of State Functions. She was transferred to the Ministry of Education in 2006 and served as Administrative Officer and later as Assistant Director under the Department of Human Resource and Administration until she was appointed to the position of Secretary to the Bursaries Committee in January 2010. Act number 31 of 2016 established the Higher Education Loans and Scholarships Board.
Mrs. Chirwa is currently serving as the first Director of the Higher Education Loans and Scholarships Board (HELSB) which has replaced the Bursaries Committee following the Enactment of the Higher Education Loans and Scholarships Act Number 31 of 2016. Mrs. Chirwa is the first female to have been appointed as Secretary to the Bursaries Committee since its establishment in 1962. Her professional career in the public sector covers a period of 23 years. Mrs Chirwa is also the current Vice President of the Association of African Higher Education Financing Agencies (AAHEFA). Mrs. Chirwa’s office is responsible for managing the administration and granting of student loans and scholarships to enable deserving Zambians attain Higher Education. In addition, Mrs. Chirwa is responsible for over Twenty Thousand (20,000) students pursuing studies at the University of Zambia, Copperbelt University, Kapasa Makasa University and various universities in Algeria, China, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Egypt, India, Morocco, Russian Federation, Serbia, Tunisia and Turkey. She is also in charge of the administration of CommonWealth Scholarships tenable in the United Kingdom.
Mrs. Chirwa holds a Master of Science Degree in Public Policy and Management from the University of London and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science/Public Administration from the University of Zambia.