Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Remembering Mina Swaminathan (1933-2022)

On March 14, Mina Swaminathan, educator and wife of IRRI’s fourth Director-General M.S. Swaminathan, died due to natural causes in their home in Teynampet, Chennai. She was 88.

Mina Swaminathan was born in New Delhi on March 29, 1933. She earned multiple education degrees from New Delhi University, Cambridge University, Panjab University, and the Central Institute of Education. A prolific educator and writer, she trained hundreds of teachers, authored manuals and books for teachers and daycare workers, and wrote numerous articles and papers on education and gender issues.

As chairperson of the Study Group on the Development of the Pre-School Child, she was instrumental in the creation of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), an acclaimed government program in India that provides nutritional meals, preschool education, primary healthcare, immunization, health check-up, and referral services to children under 6 years of age and their mothers.

During her life, Mrs. Swaminathan was a consultant to UNESCO and UNICEF, president of the Indian Association for Pre-School Education, and member of the Central Advisory Board of Education. She was also a founder of the Centre for Women’s Development Studies and part of the Board of Trustees of the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF).

She is survived by her husband M.S. Swaminathan and their three daughters: Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist of the World Health Organization; Madhura Swaminathan, Professor and Head of the Economic Analysis Unit, Indian Statistical Institute, Bangalore, and Chairperson of the MSSRF; and Nitya Rao, Director of The Norwich Institute for Sustainable Development, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.

IRRI extends its deepest condolences to the Swaminathan family and all those bereaved by her passing.


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