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Notes (171) : BIT, RIT, YIT, YTU

BIT (Burma Institute of Technology) was opened at the Gyogone Campus in 1961. The degree offered was B.Sc. (Engg). Saya U Yone Moe was the Dean (since BIT was then Faculty of Engineering of Rangoon University). Saya Dr. Aung Soe (C 61), Saya Dr. San Tint (EE61) and Saya U Maung Maung Win (M61) joined BIT as Assistant Lecturers. Saya Dr. Tin Win (M 62), U Than Se (Richard, ChE62), Daw Khin Than Nwe (T62) were some of the students who attended the Final Year classes at BIT.

Saya U San Tun (M59) was a Gold Medalist in his class and joined the Faculty. Saya studied for his Masters at MIT. Upon his return, Saya taught at BIT and also served as a Hall Tutor (see photo). Saya U Kyaw Tun (EE, saya of our sayas) was the Hall Warden. Saya U Myo Kyi (EE59), Saya U Tun Shwe (EE60), Saya U Maung Maung Win (M61), Saya Dr. San Tint (EE61) and Saya U Shwe Yi (T6x) were Hall Tutors.

BIT had “Social and Reading Club” (Tha ha ya and Sar Phut Ah Thinn). Most of the halls in Rangoon University have Social and Reading Clubs. For example, Shwe Ku May Hnin described S&RC and the notable members (who became known in the Literary Circle in Burma and beyond) in her book, “Doh Khit Tone Ga Tekkatho”. She gave me an autographed copy during her visit to the US.

BIT was renamed as RIT (Rangoon Institute of Technology). The official name change took place in 1964 with the introduction of the then New Education System. RIT became an autonomous Institute. Saya U Yone Moe became the Rector. The degree was renamed as B.E.

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In November 1964, there were three Intakes. (a) 400+ students were admitted to the 1st BE based on the controversial ILA system. (b) 300+ students were admitted to the 2nd BE based on the marks they received at the I.Sc.(A) examination. (c) About 200 students were admitted to the 3rd BE based on the marks they received at the I.Sc.(B) examination. They were joined by a few students who took sabbatical in the last First Year of Engineering (in the old system).

Supporting departments such as English, Burmese, Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry were placed in-house. There were several Visiting Lecturers (e.g. for Sociology, Industrial Management, Electrical Inspection) and Part-time Lecturers.

We are not sure if “BIT Rangoon” was considered as an alternative to RIT.

IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) has several campuses. The five oldest IIT campuses and their establishment dates are:

(a) IIT Kharagpur IITKGP 1951

(b) IIT Bombay IITB 1958

(c) IIT Kanpur IITK 1959

(d) IIT Madras IITM 1959

(e) IIT Delhi IITD 1963 [founded in 1961]

Most top students of IIT continue their studies at the prestigious universities in the US.

AIT (Asian Institute of Technology) was supposedly started as a school for SEATO (South East Asian Treaty Organization).

Several states (Massachusetts, Illinois, California, …) in USA are known for their Institutes of Technology. Sayagyi Dr. Freddie Ba Hli received his Sc.D. in EE from MIT. He was an informal adviser to Sayagyi Dr. Aung Gyi and Sayagyi U Min Wun, who were among the first three engineering undergraduates to be chosen under the “TWINNING PROGRAM” initiated by Sayagyi U Ba Hli, first native Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Rangoon University.

RIT was renamed as YIT (Yangon Institute of Technology) and then YTU (Yangon Technological University).

I named my Newsletter and its updates “RIT Alumni International Newsletter”, but I have mentioned repeatedly that “RIT” is simply a placeholder for all the engineering schools in Burma/Myanmar that precede RIT and succeed RIT.

Our alma mater had its ups and downs. The classes were forced to close citing “disturbances”. There were no convocations for the years 1988 to 1991. It was branded as “Tha Bone Kyaung” during the “Adhamma Era”. The classes were relocated to far away places, and “Swel Daw Bins” were decimated. The A to G Halls were “transformed” into make-shift quarters. Wall clocks stopped. Bushes sprang up. A video of that time brought tears and anger, and the notion that “we might not live to see our alma mater in its former glory for decades to come”.

With the dawn of the some-what “Pwint Linn Era”, our alma mater rose from the ashes. Per request from H.E. U Aye Myint (EP 72), the alumni — young and old, near and far — provided physical, monetary, and spiritual support to help the alma mater in every way possible.

The first true “Home Coming” took place in December 2012. There were tears of joy. 3000 copies of the commemorative Swel Daw Yeik Magazine (not just Sar Saung) were sold out in a couple of days. Limited reprints of the 23 RIT Annual Magazines were also sold out. Autographed copies of “Selected RIT Cartoons” were also sold out. Some copies of “History of University Engineering Education in Burma/Myanmar” may still be available [at YTU].

There were six Annual Magazines published by RUESU (Rangoon University Engineering Student Union). Saya U Moe Aung learned and refined his publication skills as an editor/publisher of the magazine.

The student unions and all professional organizations were banned following the coup d’eat in March 1962. Censorship increased with subsequent regimes.

We now have an official alumni association. It sponsored the Seventh RIT Grand Reunion and SPZP in 2016.

Shwe YaDu Celebrations were held in 2014. Fifty Swel Daw Bins were planted and maintained. The sayas and alumni donated for the Shwe YaDu Lann, Shwe YaDu benches and much more.

YTU Library Modernization Project was launched to satisfy a requirement for the accreditation of YTU. It is going well.

Thanks to the Ko Htu’s and Ko Hta’s, our alma mater is on track to achieving its former glory.

Thanks to the sayas and alums for keeping the RIT Spirit (Swel Daw Yeik Spirit) alive and well.

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