Bringing out engineers with caliber

Himself a technological university student, the writer shares his experiences, both positive and otherwise, with those aspiring to become qualified engineers

Local technological universities are where high school graduates join to become professional engineers. There are also two higher institutes of technology and a number of private schools and colleges catering to engineering courses. As I am a student at Thanlyin Technological University (TTU), I will write my personal experiences at this institution.

For the past three decades, since its original status in 1986 as a technical school, TTU has raised a large number of engineers and scholars. Nine years later, the school was transformed into a technical institute, which was again upgraded to a government technological college in 1999.

The university is located on Thanlyin-Kyauktan road, almost at the end of Thanlyin township and nearer to Kyauktan township. West to TTU is the Thilawa Special Economic Zone.

Admission criteria and specialized majors

Freshers gaining entry to technological universities are accepted mid-November every year. Around the time I was admitted, the required grades were not that high. One has to now obtain a total of over 450 marks in the high school final examination, as there has been a gradual increase of required grades every year. There is a difference in required admission marks based on the location of the total 26 technological universities in the country.

At present, these universities offer nine specialized majors to choose from. They are Civil Engineering, Architecture, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Communication Engineering, Mechatronics Engineering, Information Technology, Electrical Power Engineering, Petroleum Engineering and Chemical Engineering courses.

The next step for students admitted is to apply to specialized majors that they are going to study. There may be a few who would not be offered the majors that they had applied for as each major requires a different grade. One becomes a technological university student as soon as a specialized major has been offered.

Around the time I was admitted, the certificates and degrees bestowed were, after completion of second year the Associate of Government Technology Institute (AGTI), after fourth year the Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech.), and after fifth year the Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.). Nowadays, students have to attend six years at a stretch to obtain the B.E. degree.

The TTU, linking with local and foreign companies and universities, offers field trips, student internships, and factory visits on an annual basis. A two-month internship facilitating thesis writing is compulsory for final year students.

My experiences as a one-month intern include on-site observations, advice from and exchange of knowledge with new-found teachers and friends, real-time work site modules, and dos and don’ts observation. It was also an opportunity to know and learn one’s shortcomings.

Disadvantages of university establishments at city outskirts

YBS 70 plying between Botataung township and TTU and YBS 33 running between Yuzana Plaza and Kyauktan township are the only two buses that reach TTU.

One rarely sees YBS 70 driving carelessly or competing with other buses, but the main drawback is its long trip. Besides, there is a long gap between each bus resulting in often overcrowded and congested vehicles. Students living in Thanlyin township sometimes find it hard to board these buses. Those who cannot, have to wait for at least 20 minutes to catch the next one. On top of it, if there is a broken vehicle on Thanlyin bridge one is bound to be late for class. When there are tutorial classes, it would be advisable to leave home earlier than usual. It would be prudent to also take a ferry or arrange transportation on one’s own on exam days.

Comparing with YBS 70, YBS 33 are mini-buses, and it’s not a laughing matter trying to board them when they are overcrowded. I would like to suggest that YBS 33 buses be replaced by larger city buses. YBS 70 buses stand ready until 5pm at the university gate. The only suggestion would be to have more YBS 70s.

There are after-school activities and supportive programs, usually from 3 to 5pm. Most of the time there are YBS 70 buses ready to pick up students attending these programs, but there are also some days when one cannot find any YBS 70s. YBS 33 buses running from Kyauktan township would raise their fares on those days and would be so overcrowded that passengers would not be able to board them. Students then have to wait from half an hour to one hour just to get on the bus. These are some of the disadvantages of establishing universities at the city outskirts.

Maung Zarni Myo, a classmate staying at a hostel, said, “My native town is Myeik township in Tanintharyi Region. Students coming from another region, like me, do need hostels. If our hostels are located far away from the university, we have to start spending more for transportation. Therefore, students try to stay in hostels with close proximity to their universities. It would be hard to count all the hardships one has to face at a hostel, with the main one being having a good personal relationship with the hostel warden. Also, we have to cultivate our patience as we have to stay together with other hostellers.

“Monthly hostel fees is another issue. On an average, the rate is K35,000. For food, students have to resort to stalls nearby after carefully calculating how much to spend. Missing one’s home food is another problem when the food sold outside is of lesser quality. Even with extreme frugality, a hosteller needs to spend around K150,000 per month. Some students get enough money sent by their parents, while others get less.

“Nevertheless, one cannot leave out the enjoyment of a university student’s life at a hostel. Not every student can experience this contentment. Hostellers help out each other and have more unity. Seniors like us, with our experiences, also have the opportunity to teach juniors how to adapt to hostel life.”

Suggestions for future generations

Future engineering students need to know that mastering in engineering is more than just knowing how to work out designs.

Engineers should at all times be experts in calculation.

To be knowledgeable, they should not only specialize in their studies but also keep updated on tech news around the world.

As a communication tool, one should be skilled in a second language so that businesses could be carried out on an international scale.

Social dealing is a vital tool and one should try to learn from daily social interactions.

Laws, ethics, and safety regulations included in the final year course should be digested as they are indispensable in an engineering career.

Last but not the least, students should take care of themselves and lead a healthy life. With these suggestions, I wish future engineering students to become smart and intelligent engineers.

Source : Myanmar Times

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