Answer :

The ideas behind the Tonkin Free Schools were basically dominated by the westernization of locals by providing them necessary education and to look modern.

This was meant to break the Vietnamese from their tradition of keeping long hair. To bring about a total change, the Vietnamese were told to drop their local practices, study western customs and ideas and speak openly and frankly.

(i) The Tonkin free school was started in 1907 to provide a western style education to Vietnamese with classes on science, hygiene and French.

(ii) People were not only encouraged to learn western ideas and education but also to look modern by adopting western styles such as having a short haircut. In Vietnam the tradition was of keeping the long hairs.

(iii) French education system and their text depicted French as superior and Vietnamese as backward and old fashioned.

(iv) Many Vietnamese teachers and students opposed the text which glorifies French. They did not blindly follow the curriculum and the teachers started modifying the text and criticizing what was stated about Vietnamese.

(v) In 1920s, students started forming various political parties, like the Party of Young Annan, and published several nationalist journals such as the Annanese Student.

(vi) The battle against French colonial education became part of the larger battle against colonialism and for independence.

So, the school was a typical example of colonial ideas as it only glorified the French and justified their colonial rule. It represented Vietnamese as inferior to the French and backward, old fashioned and skilled copyists but not creative.

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