- A University is usually a collection of colleges or schools.
- Oxford University and Cambridge University have constituent colleges (e.g. King’s College, Trinity College)
- Harvard University have constituent schools (e.g. Law School, Business School, Divinity School)
- In the early Colonial era, educators and politicians requested to have an independent university in Burma, but to no avail.
- The colleges had to be affiliated with a university (e.g. Calcutta University).
- The colleges could not offer disciplines such as Medicine and Engineering.
Dr. Tin Wa wrote :
Before the colleges and universities, the British offered what is called First Arts (FA) which is an equivalent of Intermediate Part B. That is a two year college degree. My grandfather U Ohn Pe, was one of those who was awarded with First Arts who later became the Chief Translator at the British High Court for the cases that came before it.
On December 1st, 1920, a law was enacted to establish Rangoon University with two constituent colleges : Rangoon College and Judson College.
RU Golden Jubilee in 1970
- The Golden Jubilee was celebrated in 1970.
- I had a small part as a volunteer member of the “Zay Nay Yar Cha Htar Yay Ah Phwe”.
- I remember Academy Maung Maung Tar (actor) reserving a booth to promote and sell cosmetics.
- Play Boys (then an amateur band) wanted to have a high stage and give a public performance.
- There were several committees : one with Saya Dr. Aung Gyi as Chair and Saya U Thet Lwin as Secretary.
- RIT Ah Nu Pyinnya Shins took part in the Entertainment Program.
RIT belles performed the “Htee Yein”.
Swel Daw Yeik Ah Nyeint featured Minthamees and Lu Shwin Daws. Saya U Moe Aung (Tekkatho Moe War) and Saya U Saw Tun (Burmese, now in NIU) were Patrons.
- There was a commemorative issue.
- It had a reprint of Bogyoke Aung San’s rendition of “Invictus”.
- It also had an article on the early days at the Faculty of Engineering by U Hla Maung (who graduated in 1928). It was a source for the “History of Myanmar Engineering Education (HMEE)” book published in 2012.
First RU Strike
- Several students did not like the limitations of the Rangoon University Act of 1920.
- They decided to protest on December 7, 1920.
- The news was leaked to the authorities.
- The core members decided to start the strike on the evening of December 5, 1920.
- On Shwe Dagon pagoda, there is an inscription honoring the students in the strike.
- Mr. Matthew Hunter, Principal, met the students and requested them to end the strike.
- One student said, “We are not striking against you. We are asking for changes to the education system.”
- The strike resulted in the establishment of national schools and national college.
- It also caused enhancements to the Act to provide “greater” autonomy and “better” education system.
- The event is celebrated as “Ah Myo Tha Aung Bwe Nay” (National Day).
- Thakin Ko Daw Hmaing, Ah Myo Thar Pyinnya Wun U Po Kyar, Arzani U Razak, U Nu (first and last Prime Minister of the Union of Burma) and U Thant (3rd UNSG, first among the Asians) are some outstanding teachers and administrators from the national schools.
In November, 1964 a “new” Education System was established.
Several Faculties from Rangoon University became Institutes. For example,
- Institute of Medicine
- Rangoon Institute of Technology
- Institute of Economics
- Institute of Education
A few faculties (e.g. Arts, Science) were placed under the “Arts and Science University”. For example,
- RASU (Rangoon Arts and Science University)
- MASU (Mandalay Arts and Science University)
Subsequent changes to the education system saw a proliferation of Universities.