The building of the University of Indochina on Le Thanh Tong street in Hanoi (Photo: vnu.edu.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) – An international symposium was held in Hanoi on May 16 to look into the role of the University of Indochina, the first modern tertiary institute in Vietnam.

The function was to celebrate the 110th founding anniversary of the University of Indochina (May 16, 1906), which is now the Vietnam National University (VNU) in Hanoi.

Prof. Vu Minh Giang, head of the VNU’s science and training council, said when France set up the University of Indochina at that time, it was to train local intelligentsia for taking positions in its ruling system. In a wider perspective, the school was to civilise people in Indochina – comprising Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, under French rule.

The University of Indochina can be considered the start of modern education in Vietnam and a milestone in the development of local education, he added.

At the symposium, French Ambassador to Vietnam Jean Noel Poirier said the establishment of the university put an end to a reign lasting over a millennium of education based on Chinese – Nom (the Vietnamese script derived from Chinese characters) characters in Vietnam.

The school provided opportunities for the then researchers to join in the community of international scientists, he added, noting famous Vietnamese scholars enrolling there such as Nguyen Van To, Nguyen Van Huyen, Tran Van Giau, and Dao Duy Anh.

Prof. Giang said the VNU was set up in 1993 and inherited many features from the University of Indochina. It has strongly developed over the past decades and should become a symbol of Vietnam in the global tertiary system.-VNA