It was a decision I made 50 years ago that resulted in an association with an institution that has developed from its incipient stage to a full-fledged Institute of Higher Learning. Of course the decision was not mine alone since youths in those days were required to follow the tradition of seeking the guidance and advice of parents, teachers and relatives. I was fortunate enough to have an uncle who was the Professor of Chemistry and gave me valuable advice. Besides, motivation was needed to go for a career, which required two more years of study beyond the B.A. or B.Sc. courses. At that time Burma was independent for just two years and we, the youth of the country, were imbued with a spirit of challenge and sacrifice. Being masters of our own destiny, we had a vision of a united country of fertile fields, humming factories and busy highways. So I chose to apply for admission to B.O.C. College. Actually the name of the college was B.O.C. College of Engineering and Mining with a Principal as its head. The last principal was Mr. Pendril Davies. At this stage I would like to beg the reader’s forgiveness if my recollections are in error and please feel free to correct me. 50 years is a long time. University of Rangoon subsequently took over the College and it became the Faculty of Engineering with a Dean as its head. Sayagyi U Tan Ba Hli was the dean in 1950.
The requirement for admission was that an applicant must have taken the combination — Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry — in the Intermediate of Science (I.Sc.) class and pass with an aggregate of 50%. There were just over 100 students in my First Year Engineering class, including those who signed up for the fast-track New Course in 1949 and absorbed into regular class when it was discontinued. All First and Second Year students have to take common courses, irrespective of whether one wants to go for Civil, Electrical or Mechanical Engineering. Those are the only disciplines in the Faculty. Only after passing the Second Year did we have a choice. Thus, I found myself in 1950 joining an institution which nurtured me intellectually as well as socially and helped me establish a common bond of friendship and loyalty with my fellow engineers and students, when I morphed from student to teacher.
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