Anandakirshnan also served as chairman of IIT-Kanpur and headed the Tamil Nadu Curriculum Framework Committee (2017) which revamped state board syllabus from Class I to XII.
He was a towering figure in higher education and had played a key role in almost all major education reforms in Tamil Nadu for the past three decades. He also boldly criticised the governor’s office and the state government for corrupt practices in the appointment of vice-chancellors.
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He served as Anna University vice-chancellor in two-terms from 1990 to 1996 after retiring from the United Nations. He served in the UN at several levels including deputy director of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development.
“It is a great loss for technical education in Tamil Nadu and the country. We have lost an academician with highest calibre and integrity,” said former vice-chancellor of Anna University E Balagurusamy.
“He was fighting against corruption in higher education and criticised the corrupt practices in the appointment of vice-chancellors. As a vice-chancellor of Anna University, he introduced single window admissions for engineering courses in Tamil Nadu,” said Balagurusamy.
Anandakirshnan also served as the advisor to the chief minister of Tamil Nadu on information technology and e-governance just before the IT boom in the state in 2001.
It was based on the recommendations of a committee headed by Anandakrishnan that the Tamil Nadu government scrapped entrance tests to professional courses in 2006.
Anandakrishnan was born at Vaniyambadi on July 12, 1928 and completed his BE in College of Engineering, Guindy in 1952. He did his masters and PhD in University of Minnesota, US. He started his career at Central Road Research Institute in 1962 and joined as faculty of IIT- Kanpur in 1963 where he worked till 1974 before moving to the US, later to the UN.
He received several awards, including Padma Shri from the President of India in 2002 and the Order of Scientific Merit from the President of Brazil in 1996.
He is survived by wife Jayalakshmi and four sons.
Chief minister M K Stalin condoled the death of Anandakrishnan. “He played a major role in cancelling entrance test during the previous DMK’s regime. His report opened eyes of higher education to rural students and helped them join medical and engineering courses,” Stalin said in his condolence message.
Stalin lauded Anandakrishnan’s role in simplifying Tamil usage in internet and standardizing the Tamil keyboard by conducting a Tamil Internet conference.