The University of the West Indies is mourning Dr Noel Kalicharan, former senior lecturer in computing and information technology in the Faculty of Science and Technology (FST) .
In a statement on Tuesday, UWI said Kalicharan pioneered the computer science programme at the university.
Kalicharan, born in Lengua, South Trinidad, was the first full-time lecturer in computer science at the St Augustine campus.
The release said, “He helped formulate the first version of the degree which started formally in 1979 with an intake of 53 students and remained involved in all revisions as well as the introduction of new programmes such as the BSc in information technology and the masters of science (MSc) in computer science.
“It is said that practically everyone who has graduated in that area from the UWI would have encountered Kalicharan.”
Head of the campus’s Department of Life Sciences Prof Judith Gobin said, “The FST and the university have lost a brilliant mathematician’s mind with Noel’s passing.
“Noel was also a dear friend and colleague who was simple, funny, down to earth and continued to share his brilliance with Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean with his incredible letters to the newspaper. Anyone reading those letters would have learnt something new.”
The statement said Kalicharan published his first book, Computer Studies – Fundamentals Plus, in 1985. It was the first book on the subject by a Caribbean author.
He wrote 14 more books on the subject and had major international success with his books Introduction to Computer Studies and Computer Studies for GCSE, published by Cambridge University Press in 1988. CUP later published his widely acclaimed C by Example.
Kalicharan sat on several committees focused on computer science education at the secondary and tertiary levels, including the National Institute of Higher Education Research Science Technology (NIHERST) Steering Committee, and advisory committees at the National Training Board and the Ministry of Education.
In 1998 Kalicharan formulated a training programme for teachers to teach the Caribbean Examination Council’s (CXCs) information technology syllabus for TT and Grenada.
In the 1990s, Kalicharan also developed, produced and hosted a 26-programme series for TTT called Bit by Bit and wrote a series of articles about the internet for the Guardian newspaper.
“Since 1993, Kalicharan was almost solely responsible for TT's participation at the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), an annual computer programming competition for high school students.”
Kalicharan also won many major competitions including the National Macintosh Open Competition, sponsored by Apple, and the Prime Minister’s Award for Invention and Innovation in 2000 and 2002 for inventing games designed to teach thinking and numeracy skills.
NIHERST designated him a TT Icon in computer science in 2010.
The statement quoted Kalicharan from an interview with UWI Today after he received the Public Service Medal of Merit (Gold) at the National Awards Ceremony in 2011. He said, “My role as an educator is to produce learners. My goal is to empower others to learn how to learn.”