Most people in Myanmar nowadays would link engineering graduates to the Institutes of Technologies in the various engineering fields. But engineering graduates prior to 1963, were born of the University of Yangon (at that time University of Rangoon).The University of Yangon had faculties under it, one of them being the Faculty of Engineering. The engineering course was of six years duration after Matriculation. The first two years being the Intermediate Science Course preceding the actual four yearsB.Sc. (Engineering)Degree course. The I.Sc part (A) course was at the Yankin College, now the State High School, Yankin. The I.Sc part (B) course was at the University of Yangon. Only those who passed the I.Sc (B) with the required marks in maths and science subjects were eligible to join the engineering course in the field of their choice.
The four year engineering course was at the brand new “Faculty of Engineering” building on Pyae Road popularly referred to as “Leikkhone Kyaung” in the Myanmar language because of the turtle back shaped roof of the assembly hall(now dismantled). The other facilities included the lecture theatres, the laboratories and the well lighted and airy class rooms with the adjunct admin and library building as it stands now. Across the road at the back of the of new “Faculty of Engineering” is the traditional brick building of the “BOC College of Engineering” donated by the Burma Oil Company of the British Colonial Period. In the first and second years of the B.Sc (Engineering) course the practical “Workshop” courses on Carpentry, Smithy, Machine Tool Operation and Bench Fitting; were held at the Workshops of the “BOC College of Engineering”. Lectures and the Laboratory courses were held at the lecture theatres and the modern laboratories of the various engineering fields in the Faculty of Engineering.
In 1962/63 the Faculty of Engineering was shifted to the imposing, new Rangoon Institute of Technology on Yangon Insein Road built and donated by the Russian Government. The Rangoon Institute of Technology (now the Yangon Institute of Technology) is awarding Bachelor, Masters and Doctorate degrees in various fields of Engineering. The “Faculty of Engineering” on Pyae Road was converted into the University of Medicine (2) and passed on to the Ministry of Health.
The Faculty of Engineering of University of Rangoon (now Yangon) which I attended from 1957 to 61 had well qualified teaching staff, comprising of Professors, Lecturers, Assistant Lecturers and Demonstrators, both local and foreign. The local staff comprised of persons with masters and doctorate degrees from well known universities in the United States of America, the USSR, the United Kingdom and some European countries. The foreign teaching staff were also from well known universities in the UK, India and other countries. Some were on short term contract basis and some on long term. The teaching was of a high quality such that B.Sc (Engineering) Graduates were accepted by universities in the USA and other countries for Master degree courses on the strength of their marks in the various years of study at the University of Rangoon (now Yangon), Faculty of Engineering. There were also the engineering graduates who secured jobs in foreign countries on the strength of their degrees awarded by the University of Rangoon (now Yangon)Faculty of Engineering.
My first year at the Faculty of Engineering saw several females (about five as far as I can remember) taking engineering courses, particularly in Chemical and Textile Engineering. Prior to that there was only one female who took the Bachelor of Architecture course. In later years more and more females joined the engineering courses as well as the other technology courses so that in both the state sector and the private sector nowadays, the share of woman in the engineering profession is quite high. There were some engineers of the Defence Forces attending the Faculty of Engineering as well. The convocation of all the Engineering graduates was held in the grand Convocation Hall of the University of Yangon together with the convocation of the other faculties.
Although the Engineering students attended the Faculty of Engineering, they were in fact students of the “ Mother University”- the University of Yangon. They took part in all the activities of the students of the “Mother University” of Yangon such as joining in the University Training Corps, the University Rowing Club, the University Swimming Club, the University Tennis club as well as other clubs and associations the same as with the Arts and Science students of the University of Yangon.
With this article I pay tribute to the University of Yangon on the occasion of it’s 100th Anniversary and take pride in being an alumnus of a hundred year old Institution of higher learning in Myanmar.
With charity to all and malice to none.