Volume #22 - 661.|
Memorandum from Secretary of State for External Affairs|
CABINET DOCUMENT NO. 136-56|
May 31st, 1956|
COLOMBO PLAN - TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE - EQUIPMENT FOR THE|
TECHNICAL HIGH SCHOOL RANGOON, BURMA
Towards the end of last year a formal request was received from the Government of the Union of Burma for a quantity of equipment to be supplied under the Technical Co- operation Scheme for a Technical High School that is being built in Rangoon. The school was designed and constructed by United Kingdom firms and will take boys who have completed middle school and teach them for two years in Burmese, English, Algebra, Geometry, Physics, Chemistry, Technical Drafting and one of the following trade courses: building, metal work, machine shop practice, electricity, electronics, automobile or diesel engine maintenance and repair. The yearly enrollment is expected to be from 300- 400 students, making the total enrollment for the two-year course 600- 800 students. Space for evening classes can accommodate up to 1,000. This school is one of three projected technical institutions (there are already two in operation) designed to meet the manpower requirements of industry in the expanding Burmese economy.
The equipment requested included basic instructional tools and teaching aids in the following laboratories and shops:
The whole of the request was directed to Canada with the exception of Item 9 as Australia had agreed to supply two complete machine shops, one of which was destined for this school. Preliminary investigations showed that perhaps two-thirds of the request addressed to Canada would represent offshore purchase (mainly U.K.) while one- third could be obtained from Canadian sources of manufacture. The Interdepartmental Group considered this application and noted that despite preliminary indications that a large part of the equipment was not available in Canada, nevertheless the Burmese attached a very high priority to this request as it related to a co- ordinated programme for training needed technical personnel. It was also noted that as part of a recent Russian aid agreement assistance had been offered to the Burmese in building and equipping another one of the several technological institutes which the Government of Burma is anxious to establish. It was determined that the Canadian content might be raised if someone experienced in equipping similar schools in Canada was to examine the possibility of substituting nearly equivalent Canadian items for some of those listed. Advantage was taken of the assignment of Dr. A.E. Cameron, President of the Nova Scotia Technical College, to a technical education mission to Indonesia to have him visit Rangoon for a week early in February. Concurrently the application was being examined by commodity officers in the Department of Trade and Commerce to determine the price and availability of the items.
Dr. Cameron reported that there was an immediate need for hand tools and bench power tools. He felt this form of contribution from Canada would give widespread daily acknowledgment of a Canadian contribution and might set a precedent for the future use of Canadian made goods. Apparently the Burmese have been able to obtain the auto-mechanics shop equipment from the Ford Foundation and Carpenter shop equipment was now available from local sources. The Burmese were also interested in obtaining training facilities in Canada for senior students and for the training of Burmese instructors. They have since requested a Canadian expert to teach at the technical college at Insein to which graduates from this high school would go for further training.
The United Kingdom Government was approached concurrently with Dr. Cameron's visit to Rangoon to determine whether it would be prepared to consider the possibility of supplying some of the equipment items which would originate from United Kingdom manufacturing sources. The Foreign Office subsequently indicated it would be prepared to assign a reasonable priority to the provision of that portion of equipment which cannot be procured from Canadian sources. The Burmese authorities have now submitted a request to the United Kingdom for laboratory equipment, surveying and drawing equipment and machinery associated with a number of the shops.
Dr. Cameron concluded that an effective contribution could be made by Canada through the provision of small hand and bench tools for the whole school and by equipping the sheet metal, tinsmithy and foundry workshops. He pointed out that it would be necessary to supply the whole range of the small tools in order to make a worthwhile contribution even though he recognized this might include some items from non-Canadian sources of supply. Dr. Cameron found the school well designed and making good progress and felt the plans for the training of a cadre of technically qualified personnel were well founded and entitled to a high priority in Burma's economic development plans.
The remaining lists have been closely examined by a specialist
in the equipping of technical schools and after certain revisions
and amendments (sanctioned by the Burmese authorities in the
interests of obtaining a correlated supply of equipment) it has
been determined that a homogeneous and effective offer could be
made by Canada of equipment valued at about $85,000. Estimates
place the overall average of off-shore component at less than
40%. Certain items are of higher offshore content than others but
it would not be possible to work out any substitution increasing
the Canadian content that would still make a self-contained
contribution. The breakdown is as follows:
The Interdepartmental Colombo Group has considered the request in these terms and has recommended our participation. Equipment requests are normally not required to have Cabinet approval but as this particular one is of some magnitude and contains an appreciable element of off-shore purchase it has been brought forward for Cabinet consideration. This is the largest single equipment request so far received under the Technical Co-operation Scheme. It falls within the terms of the Colombo Plan Vote.
It is estimated that the United Kingdom is being asked to supply equipment valued at about $205,000; the Ford Foundation offer of an automobile shop will run to some $80,000, while the Australian offer of a machine shop may total as much as $200,000.
I would recommend that approval be granted for the purchase and supply of up to $85,000.00 worth of tools and equipment. Procurement where possible to be from Canadian sources of manufacture, and the total average off-shore element not to exceed 40% of the total. Funds to be made available from the technical assistance portion of the Colombo Plan Vote.20
Concurred in by the