Education Ministry and System
Colonel Hla Han was the “Pyinnyar Ye Tar Wun Khan” (later renamed Minister of Education). He succeeded Commodore Than Pe (RUBC founding member, Captain and then President), who was the first Revolutionary Council member to pass away.
Dr. Nyi Nyi was the “Pyinnyar Ye Ah Twin Wun” (Secretary, later renamed Deputy Minister of Education).
U Yone Moe was Rector. He started his tenure with BIT (Burma Institute of Technology) as “Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Rangoon University”, and became the first Rector of RIT.
U Soe Thein, former Ta-ka-tha student leader, was Registrar.
There were eight Engineering Departments: (1) Civil (2) Mechanical (3) Electrical (4) Chemical (5) Textile (6) Mining (7) Metallurgy (8) Architecture.
There were several supporting (non-Engineering) Departments: (1) Mathematics (2) Physics (3) Chemistry (4) English (5) Burmese …
Admission to RIT
In November 1964, three batches of students attended the first ever 1st BE, 2nd BE and 3rd BE (formerly, 1st year of Engineering) under the then New Education System.
400+ students were admitted to 1st BE using the controversial ILA (Intelligence Level Aggregate). The background ranges from (a) Pure Science (b) Pure Arts (c) Hybrid (with some Science and some Arts subjects).
300+ students who had passed the last ever I.Sc.(A) examination were admitted to the first ever 2nd BE class. They had attended the Intermediate Colleges (e.g. under Rangoon University or Mandalay University).
About 200 students who had passed the last ever I.Sc.(B) examination were admitted to the first ever 3rd BE class. They had attended the Intermediate Colleges (e.g. under Rangoon University or Mandalay University). There were a few who had taken sabbatical in the old 1st year of Engineering.
Fees, Scholarships and Stipends
The monthly tuition was 15 kyats.
Scholarship winners and stipend holders receive a monthly allowance of 75 kyats (60 kyats net after paying the tuition).
The Class of 69++
Of the 300+ students admitted to 2nd BE, there were 100+ students in Civil and Mechanical, 70+ students in Electrical, 15+ students in Chemical and Textile, and 10 (or less) students in Mining, Metallurgy and Architecture.
Most of them graduated in 1969. Some left before graduation.
Some took sabbatical, and graduated a year or two later.
The Class of 69 (or 69++) consists of
(a) those who entered 2nd BE in 1964
(b) those who graduated in 1969
(c) those who studied a year or more with the above.
In 1999, Ko Tint Lwin (Daniel), Ko Sein Myint, Ko Sein Win (“Nar Yee”), and several 69ers organized the reunion for the “30th Anniversary of Graduation” and also a mini-SPZP. Ko Tint Lwin (Daniel) e-mailed me a report. Ma Saw Yu Tint (Alice) e-mailed me photos.
Saya U Soe Paing e-mailed me about several mini-gatherings in Yangon (e.g. with Sayagyi Dr. Aung Gyi).
I informally started “RIT Alumni (Abroad) Newsletter” to share RIT-related news (such as the mini-gatherings) and solicited contact information (in the form a spread sheet) from interested sayas and alumni. I use “RIT” to stand not only for Rangoon Institute of Technology, but to all the engineering faculty, colleges and institutes that precede or succeed it.
The name was changed to “RIT Alumni International Newsletter” to include alumni in Burma and the rest of the world.
RIT Web Site
Ko Khin Maung Zaw (EC76) designed and implemented the first RIT web site. Ko Khin Maung Oo (Ivan Lee, M69), Ko Aung Myint (M69, Singapore) and the San Francisco Bay Area Group led by Saya Allen Htay (C58) provided some financial help to operate the web site.
“RIT Alumni International” hosted the First RIT Grand Reunion and Saya Pu Zaw Pwe in October 2000.
There has been seven world wide SPZPs: SPZP-2000 in USA, SPZP-2002, SPZP-2007 and SPZP-2010 in Singapore, SPZP-2004, SPZP-2012 and SPZP-2016 in Yangon.
The Class of 69 organized the “40th Anniversary of the Graduation” in 2009.
Golden Jubilee of Admission (not graduation)
The “Golden Jubilee of the admission to 2nd BE” in 2014, because the 69ers were concerned with the declining health of members and that some may not be able to make it to the True Golden Jubilee of graduation in 2019.
Declining Health of Members
At one moment, the Class of 69 had a median age of 69, and the list of GBNF has 69 members.
That symmetry no longer holds. The Class of 69 has a median age of 72 (or 73), and the list of GBNF has 80+ members.
The attendees at the mini-gatherings have decreased. Some could not drive, and had to ask their family members (e.g. daughter) to take them to the gatherings. Some had major or minor operations, and need time to recover fully. Some had medical problems for some time (e.g. a year or two).
Most are retired or semi-retired. A few did not retire or did not have the chance to retire.
Ko Tin Maung Lay (M69)’s spouse wanted him to retire, but his boss requested him to perform a meticulous “hand-over” before retiring. He had daily work outs and supposedly had no known major health problems. We were sad to learn of his untimely demise in Dubai on a Friday (holiday in the country). His company and colleagues had to try extra hard to make sure that Ko Tin Maung Lay’s body could be flown back to Southern California, USA.
Let’s hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.
U Aung Min (M69), U Shwe (EP69) and team are the core volunteers for the 69er HCF (Health Care Fund).
U Khin Maung Oo (Ivan Lee, M69), U Sein Myint (EP69), Daw Myint Myint (C69) … are some of the major donors to HCF.
Ko Tint Lwin (Daniel, M69) added :
Thank you very much for your write-up about our 1999 “30th Anniversary of Graduation”. Actually. it all started in 1996 when I visited Burma and had dinner with a few of my close friends, including, Ko Shwe, Ko Win Mg, Ko Ye Pinn, Gabar Ko Myint Thein, etc. During dinner somebody mentioned that in 3 years time it would be 30 years since we graduated. Out of the blues I suggested to have a reunion in 1999. Everybody laughed as it was so far away. When I came back to Singapore and told Ko Sein Myint and Dickie they also laughed and told me that I must be crazy to think about so far away. However, time flies and in either late 1998 or early 1999 at Ko Win Htein’s funeral wake, some of our friends remembered the reunion proposal. They quickly formed a committee and organised the very first reunion at ‘Sait Taing Kya Restaurant. After the event I wrote you a report, Alice sent you a few photos and the rest is history.
Ko Ivan Lee (M69) wrote :
Recently rather than optimistic good news, we heard spreading pessimistic health concern news mostly.
It clearly indicates that we are aging higher and health is going down lower and lower.
I can Imagine 5 years from now how many will be terribly survived.
I am kind of depressed that sooner or later we will be meeting THERE.
At this moment all I can express is to wish our classmates who are in sickness to recover ASAP.
Ivan Lee (M69)
Zau Lai (EP69) wrote :
Thank you, Ko Hla Min, for your writings. If it’s not for you there will be no records and history of R I T. I am reading interestingly all your writings all the time. When we all are gone your writing will live on.
Aung Min (M69) added :
So thanks for your recordings.
True Golden Jubilee (of Graduation)
The Class of 69 celebrated the true Golden Jubilee (50th Anniversary of Graduation) in December 2019.