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Zhang Correcting his children's homework. Photo credits: CFP

Homeschooling In China Growing Despite Ban

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homeschooling in China

Homeschooling in China: Zhang Qiaofeng correcting his children’s homework. Photo credits: CFP

Homeschooling in China is emerging with an estimated 18,000 children currently receiving education at home across China. This is according to a report from the 21st Century Education Research Institute. The same report mentioned that the number of home educated children were 2,000 in 2013 but has grown exponentially with over 50,000 parents who have taken the initial steps to begin homeschooling.

Like other homeschoolers around the globe, many parents in China don’t trust the public school system to give their kids a well-rounded education that fosters their creativity and critical thinking skills.  Others are concerned with the religious presuppositions of government schools.

The growing interest in homeschooling in China has prompted the government, through the Education Ministry, to release the following statement: “it’s forbidden to conduct home-schooling to replace nine years of formal education uniformly enforced across the country.” Homeschoolers in China then, are technically breaking the law.

Why Homeschooling In China Is Growing More Popular

The parents who homeschool their children, however, say that they do it because of the vast size of China. And for determined homeschooling parents, their children can receive a good education with minimal government interference.

Interestingly, most parents taking the homeschooling path in China, also cited problems with “forced curriculum” which include mandatory reading older Chinese materials such as the diary of the late Chinese Communist premier Zhou Enlai who defended Mao’s murderous purges. The complaint centers around the relevance of such content which parents say has no real value or importance in the development of their children. In short… they think it’s propaganda.

Another issue cited is the competition to get in some of the “better” government schools. For example, in many Shanghai-based schools, competition is so high that parents have to actually pass tests before their children can get into the school. Sometimes, educational institutions will even prompt parents who are vying for school positions to validate their children with DNA tests. Add all this up and it seems the state of government education in China is in a state of transition.

Parents opting for homeschooling in communist China are, however, still operating in a grey and perhaps dangerous area. Like American homeschooling parents, Chinese moms and dads also believe that home-schooling works better with well-educated and above all… very determined parents.

How Homeschooling In China Is Working

One parent from Zhenjiang province, Yuan Honglin, began homeschooling her child 14 years ago. From her observations, her child has attained academic success faster than most children.

Her daughter, Xiaoyi, has received her associate degree in English at Zhejiang University at the age of 16 through self-taught examinations. She’s now preparing for the exam in her last subject. If she passes this test, she will earn her bachelor’s degree.

Homeschooled children are generally more independent and do possess the ability to think critically. Moreover, the fast-track by exam model doesn’t seem to compromise a child’s education there or here. “The kids weren’t afraid of learning something new,” remarked Yuan.

A Global Trend 

The truth is, more and more parents globally are singing the praises of homeschooling worldwide. Homeschooling in China has put kids from 3 to 5 years ahead of their peers in learning. Despite the government’s sanction on homeschooling, enforcing the crackdown is challenging.

According to the 21st Century Education Research Institute, 68% of the children that have opted for homeschooling had “terrible experiences” in public schools, leading eventually to the decision to educate at home. The remaining balance were educated at home as a result of parental concerns towards homeschooling for a wide range of reasons.

One homeschooling parent, Zhang Qiaofeng, says he was very disappointed in the public school system and that he removed his child from it only three weeks into school. He cited that the school’s overly strict discipline and lack of any leisure time were burdensome to his child.

Parents again stressed that the teaching materials promoted indoctrination, hindering the development of critical thinking skills. The claim is a real one.  Presenting kids with a flawed or partial version of history for example inevitably leads to a form of brainwashing.  American homeschoolers would similar arguments.

Unlike the U.S., however, schools in China do not promote “gender confusion” and other politically correct propaganda. The lowering of standards and the academic “dumbing down” of students in the U.S. also handicap American children. Of course, the Chinese school children still get their share of propaganda in areas like evolution and communism. They are, after all, related subjects. But the fact remains, children in government schools in both China and the U.S. get an educational agenda that is highly religious in nature. It’s just not the religion of Christianity.

Closing Thoughts

The indomitable will of many Chinese parents in “bucking the system” regarding homeschooling in China is admirable. They face jail after all. And let’s be brutally honest…

If more American parents had a fraction of their determination, our country would look and feel very different today. Think George Washington, John Adams and Patrick Henry.

 

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