||Asean Affairs 15 July 2013
Myanmar’s Ministry of Construction interested to work with AIT: Deputy Minister
Myanmar’s Deputy Minister of Construction H.E. Dr. Win Myint is eager to aid the development of his country by dramatically increasing the professional capacity and expertise of its engineers. He also expressed an interest in the Asian Institute of Technology playing an active role.
The deputy minister made his remarks on 8 July 2013 while leading a five-member delegation of senior ministry officials on a one-day visit to AIT. It followed a recent visit by AIT Consulting Executive Director Dr. Naveed Anwar and Project Coordinator Mr. Thaung Htut Aung to the Ministry of Construction, Myanmar on June 25.
The high-level visitors were warmly welcomed to the campus by Interim President Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai who reiterated AIT’s strong desire assist Thailand’s neighbor, saying: “We are here to serve the region and especially your country. AIT stands ready to assist Myanmar’s development through capacity building and technical training.”
High on the agenda for professionalizing all engineers in Myanmar is creation of a Council of Engineers similar to the one existing in Thailand, the deputy minister said. As a civil engineer, President Worsak shared his personal experience with such bodies in Thailand, and said would assist the officials with contacts and any available expertise. Deputy Minister Dr. Win Myint extended an invitation to President Worsak to visit Myanmar as soon as possible.
To start working with AIT, H.E. Dr. Win Myint explained: “We have requested AIT Consulting through Dr. Naveed to conduct a three-month training course on bridges and tall buildings for our officials.”
The Ministry of Construction is responsible for the country’s construction and maintenance of infrastructure, including roads and bridges, and all urban planning and public housing. According to Mr. U Kyaw Linn, Managing Director, Public Works, Ministry of Construction, the country’s engineers have been given primary leadership roles in development, following the recent national elections.
Mr. U Kyaw Linn indicated that thousands of engineers currently employed by the Ministry could benefit from attaining higher professional and academic qualifications. Of the 6000 practicing engineers in the Ministry of Construction, 173 possess Master degrees and only 11 hold PhDs. The vast majority of the engineers possess Diplomas and Bachelor degrees, he said.
“Our wish is to coordinate and cooperate with AIT in the future,” he said.
President Worsak stressed that different modalities for Ministry staff to earn advanced degrees at AIT could be worked out. AIT enjoyed good partnership with Vietnam in the 1980s through matching fund schemes for assisting students, he explained, and this could be considered once again. Noting a similarity in terms of international partners, the president added that AIT was open to developing a joint proposal with the Ministry of Construction to approach development aid agencies for financial support.
Overall, AIT is flexible to work out special arrangements to suit the needs of the Ministry and its staff, AIT officials stressed. Myanmar nationals now make up the second largest number of current students, and the figure is growing each year. With 3.2 % of the institute’s alumni calling Myanmar home, ties with the country are growing ever stronger, AIT officials told Deputy Minister of Construction H.E. Dr. Win Myint.