- Most members of the class were “Guinea Pigs” of the Education System.
- They had to take the Government Examinations three (or even four) times before entering University.
- In the process, they effectively lost a year of their lives.
- Took the last 7th Standard Government examination in 1960.
- Some SPHS classmates took the 7th Standard Examination in the previous year as external candidates.
They then transferred to other schools.
Some passed the Combined HSF and Matriculation examination.
They were admitted to the University two years ahead of us.
- Took the HSF Only examination in March 1962.
- Answered all HSF subjects in Burmese (except English).
- For example, we studied Yupa Beda (Physics), Dhatu Beda (Chemistry) and Thin Char (Mathematics) in Burmese.
- The Yupa Beda text was written by Dr. Maung Maung Kha and U San Tha Aung.
- The students in Rangoon had to take the examinations with Security Guards patrolling (following the Coup d’etat on March 2, 1962).
The reason was that HSF examination questions were leaked.
- The students from the Rangoon Division had to retake the HSF Only examination in August 1962.
- Chu Pu Thein had the highest score for Physics.
After matriculation, he left Burma to study in Italy.
- Maung Maung Kyi had the highest score for Chemistry.
During the RU closure, he received States Scholarship to study Chemical Engineering (with specialty in Pulp and Paper) at Dresden University, Germany.
Upon his return, he worked for Sittaung Paper Mill and PPIC.
He moved to Wales, UK.
- Took the Matriculation Only examination in May 1963.
- Answered all Matriculation subjects in English (except Burmese).
- For example, we studied Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics in English.
- The Physics text was by Sen and Gupta.
The SPHS library also had Physics books by Sears and Zemansky (donated by Ford Foundation and/or Asia Foundation).
- The Chemistry text was by Menon.
- The Mathematics texts include Algebra (by Hall and Knight), Sequence Geometry and Trigonometry (by Siddon and Hughes).
- Some teachers also used Reference Books (e.g. Tutorial Algebra) and Study Guides.
- The pass rate was relatively small.
In the Matriculation of 1963, only 1263 students passed from the Rangoon Division.
The results were published in three divisions :
First Division (60+ marks average)
Second Division (50+ marks average)
Third Division (40+ marks average)
- Since the results were published in order of merit, it was not easy for most students to find out if they had passed the examination (and in what Division).
It was a nightmare for those who failed the examination.
- 100 Scholarships were awarded, but those from private schools (e.g. St. Paul’s High School) received Scholarships only if they are among the Top Forty Matriculates.
- St. Paul’s had
Five students in the Top Five,
Seven in the Top Ten,
Ten in the Top Twenty.
- In mid 1963, took the Science Option for I.Sc.(A) classes that were being offered the Intermediate Colleges.
Those for Rangoon Division attended the Rangoon Intermediate College (loosely known as “Leik Khone”.
- The Roll Numbers were based on the last names.
Ko Aung Min’s Roll Number was B115.
Mine was B116.
Ko Than Myaing was B120.
We shared lectures and tutorials.
- Citing “security reasons” following student protests for sad events on 7th July 1962 and 8th July 1962, hostel students were forced to return home.
Classes (with the exception of Medical and Engineering Colleges) were suspended “until further notice”.
- The I.Sc.(A) examination was taken at State High Schools.
- In November 1964, a new Education System was introduced.
- The system of having Faculties under a University (e.g. Rangoon) was disbanded.
- Most Faculties became autonomous Institutes with their own Rectors.
- The controversial ILA (Intelligence Level Aggregate) was used to decide the admission of Matriculates into the Universities and Institutes.
It effectively caused the end of “Freedom to study” (where several Top students chose their passion of study : Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Economics, Commerce …)
- One High School Luyechun was forced to study Philosophy.
- On the other hand, some who took Arts subjects and/or Hybrid Combinations were admitted to the Rangoon Institute of Technology (RIT)
- Colonel Hla Han was the “Pyinnyar Ye Tar Wun Khan” (later renamed Minister of Education).
He was among the early LMPs to take the Bridge Course to become MBBS.
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 (former Professor of Geology) was the “Pyinnyar Ye Ah Twin Wun” (Secretary, later renamed Deputy Minister of Education).
- Controversial rules (ILA, 3 NRC …) caused disruption to the academic and profession careers of several students (e.g. one who was First in Burma).
- U Yone Moe (Retired Chief Engineer of Burma Railways) became the first Rector.
He started his tenure with BIT (Burma Institute of Technology) as “Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Rangoon University”.
- U Soe Thein, former Ta-ka-tha student leader, became Registrar.
He later received Promotion as Director of Higher Education.
- 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 …
- 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.
- The monthly tuition was 15 kyats
(payable as 30 kyats every two months).
- 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 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.
- Due to COVID-19 pandemic, SPZP-2020 was postponed.
The Class of 69 organized the “40th Anniversary of the Graduation” in 2009.
Golden Jubilee of Admission
The “Golden Jubilee of the admission to 2nd BE” in 2014, because the 69ers were concerned with the declining health of members.
True Golden Jubilee (of Graduation)
- The Pu Zaw Pwe was held at the Assembly Hall in the Gyogone Campus.
- Ma Tin Tin (Anne, EC69) made her first visit back after graduation.
She donated to the Event and the 69er Health Care Fund.
She also attended the Reunion and Dinner organized by Ko Aung Min at the Compound of his former office.
- Sad to note that several who attended the Golden Jubilee events are GBNF.
Declining Health of Members
At one time, the Class of 69 had a median age of 69, and the list of GBNF has 69 members.
The symmetry no longer holds. The Class of 69 has a median age of 75, and the list of GBNF has 117 members.
The attendees at the mini-gatherings have decreased. Some (e.g. U Soe Thein (Peter Myint Maung)) 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 tried extra hard to make sure that his 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.
Not so young 69ers