The French Colonialists believed in carrying out a ‘civilising mission’ under the guise of modernising the colony and they used education as tool to do so. This led to an erosion of cultural beliefs, religion and tradition of Vietnam.
The French citizens living in Vietnam called Colons felt that educated Vietnamese could replace them as teachers, shopkeepers and policemen. The elite Vietnamese were very influenced by the Chinese culture. The traditional education system of Vietnam was dismantled and a new French education system was introduced.
The school textbooks glorified and justified the French colonial rule and portrayed Vietnamese people as primitive, and incapable of intellectual work. The Tonkin Free School, started in 1907 was to provide western education and ideas. The domination of French culture faced opposition and resistance in Vietnam.
As the number of Vietnamese teachers in lower classes increased, they began to question the text books. In 1926, a major protest took place in the Saigon Native Girl school.
Students came in conflict with the French as well as the elite. By the 1920s students formed various political parties such as the Party of Young Annan and published nationalist journals like the Annanese Student opposing the French domination.