During the Nguyễn dynasty period (1802–1945) of Vietnamese history its Ministry of Education was reformed a number of times, in its first iteration it was called the Học Bộ (Hán tự: 學部), which was established during the reign of the Duy Tân Emperor (1907–1916) and took over a number of functions of the Lễ Bộ, one of the Lục Bộ. The Governor-General of French Indochina wished to introduce more education reforms, the Nguyễn court in Huế sent Cao Xuân Dục and Huỳnh Côn, the Thượng thư of the Hộ Bộ, to French Cochinchina to discuss these reforms with the French authorities. After their return the Học Bộ was established in the year Duy Tân 1 (1907) with Cao Xuân Dục being appointed to be its first Thượng thư (minister). Despite nominally being a Nguyễn dynasty institution, actual control over the ministry fell in the hands of the French Council for the Improvement of Indigenous Education in Annam.The Học Bộ also included a number of agencies like the Quốc sử quán (國史館), the official state history office. And the Quốc tử giám (國子監), the national academy.
During this period the country saw a transition of the traditional Confucian-based system of imperial examinations to the multi-field and specialised educational system that was being used in the West. Educational reformers who were educated in France rose to prominent positions and reformed the Nguyễn dynasty's education system from within.
In the year Bảo Đại 8 (1933) the Học Bộ was reformed into the more French-style Ministry of National Education (Vietnamese: Bộ Quốc gia Giáo dục; Hán-Nôm: 部國家教育; French: Ministère de l'Éducation nationale). The Bảo Đại Emperor wanted to remove the old ministers who were solely educated in Confucianism and replace them with well-known academics and officials calling for Westernising reforms. The first Thượng thư of the Ministry of National Education was Phạm Quỳnh, the editor-in-chief of the Nam Phong magazine.In the year Bảo Đại 17 (1942) the Ministry of National Education would also become responsible for the organising youth activities and sports events with the creation of the Department of Youth and Sports. Expanding the scope of the Ministry and its duties.
During the Trần Trọng Kim cabinet of the Empire of Vietnam it was renamed the Ministry of Education and Fine Arts (Vietnamese: Bộ Giáo dục và Mỹ thuật; Hán-Nôm: 部教育𡝕美術) and was headed by minister Hoàng Xuân Hãn. The Empire of Vietnam's Ministry of Education and Fine Arts would launch a national Vietnamese-language curriculum and try to Vietnamise the country's education system at every level to reduce the influence of the French language on Vietnam's education system. It was abolished during the August Revolution when the Indochinese Communist Party staged a nationwide revolution that ended the 143-year reign of the Nguyễn dynasty over Vietnam. On 28 August 1945 the Democratic Republic of Vietnam would set up its own Ministry of National Education taking over the functions in Vietnamese society of the old imperial institution. The reforms introduced in 1945 proved successful and would influence the education systems of Vietnam long after the fall of the Nguyễn dynasty.
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