The Chinese government has banned homeschooling in China. However, this has not stopped a few parents from educating their kids at home. Naturally, the trend makes Beijing worried since homeschooling would end up producing educated adults whose minds have not been completely brainwashed with the communist ideology from childhood.
“In 2017, for the first time, the education ministry openly attacked the practice, calling it ‘very unfavorable to a child’s lifelong development’… a Beijing-based think-tank estimated that about 56,000 children were being homeschooled (in 2017) or were about to be withdrawn for that purpose. It said the number had nearly tripled since 2013,” according to The Economist. However, the real number of children being homeschooled is likely to be higher than these figures since the parents will mostly keep the matter a secret so as not to come under the radar of the government.
The state curriculum is often filled with propaganda about communist ideology and Beijing’s own version of history. The U.S. and other democratic countries are portrayed negatively and portrayed as the “enemies” of China. These are some of the things that make a few parents pull their children from state schools. Such parents often tend to be highly educated, progressive in their thinking, and hope that their children also grow up with an open, unrestrained mind where they are free to question everything.
Some parents also think that the Chinese education system is too stressful for children and do not want their own children to undergo such pressures. Instead, they teach kids in a leisurely manner, giving special attention to encouraging their unique abilities and creativity. The trend of homeschooling is not just limited to the mainland. Even in the city of Hong Kong, there has been a spike in talks about home-based education among parents.
According to a survey conducted last year, “There were at least 60 home-schooling families in the city with a total of 97 children, including 68 youngsters aged between six and 15. Only 18 of those families had informed the bureau of their set-up. Another 11 said they felt no need to, while six were concerned about pressure or interference from authorities,” according to South China Morning Post.
The government has been forcing Chinese schools to do away with religion. Last June, over 40 teachers from a school in Jiangxi were asked to sign agreements that they would keep religion away from their campuses. Teachers were also asked to keep their family members away from religion.
“If too many people turn to religion, then no one will believe in the Communist Party… Therefore, dynamic ideological control is crucial for the CCP. They can allow the economy to slow down, but they will never let independent creed to infiltrate the nation: it’s crucial for the Party to keep the power,” a school director from the northeastern province of Heilongjiang said to Bitter Winter.
In December, a primary school teacher from Jiangxi made her students sign a commitment that they will never participate in any religious activities. The kids were warned to never come to school if they failed to follow the rule. Once the kids had signed the statement, the teacher apparently wrote “against religion” on the blackboard. The students were made to repeat it loudly several times. The teacher even took photos of the kids while they chanted “against religion.”