Chapter : 2. The Nationalist Movement in Indo-China

The Dilemma Of Colonial Education

The Dilemma Of Colonial Education
Why Education :
French took for granted that Europe had developed the most advanced civilization. So it became the duty of the Europeans to introduce these modern ideas to the colony even at this meant destroying cultures, religions and traditions, because these were seen as outdated and prevented modern development.
Problems :
(1) The French needed an educated local labour force but they feared that education might create problems.
(2) Once educated, the Vietnamese may begin to question colonial domination.
(3) Moreover, French citizens living in Vietnam began fearing that they might lose their jobs¬–as teachers, shopkeepers, policemen to the educated Vietnamese. So they opposed policies that would give the Vietnamese full access to French Education.
(i) Talking Modern :
(1) The elites in Vietnam were influenced by Chinese culture. So French systematically dismantled the traditional educational system and opened French schools for the Vietnamese. But this was not so easy. Chinese, the language used by the elites so far had to be replaced was the language to be Vietnamese or French ? It was a matter of thinking.
(2) The opinion of the policy makers was to use the French language as the medium of instruction. The educated people in Vietnam would respect French sentiments and ideals, see the superiority of French culture and work for the French. Other option was that Vietnamese be taught in lower classes and French in the higher classes. The few who learn French and acquired French culture were to be rewarded with French citizenship.
(1) Only Vietnamese elite were admitted in the French schools. This was a policy to fail deliberately the students in their final classes. So that they could not get better jobs.
(2) School textbooks glorified the French and justified colonial rule. The Vietnamese were represented as primitive and backward, capable of manual labour but not of intellectual reflection; they could work in the fields but cannot rule.

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