Almost all totalitarian regimes seek to infiltrate children’s education in order to brainwash them into loyal subjects. The Chinese Communist Party is turning into quite an expert. The country is now passing laws against homeschooling since homeschooling prevents children from enrolling in schools that run on the government-approved syllabus where they are fed the usual propaganda.
The war against homeschooling
“The government’s February  policy states that ‘[students] should not be allowed to study at home to replace the national unified implementation of compulsory education.’ New restrictions requiring province-level approval for only certain excuses, such as health reasons, will now be imposed on any parents who want to homeschool,” according to WND.
But despite serious warnings by the government, interest in homeschooling has only increased among the Chinese. According to estimates by the 21st Century Education Research Institute, the number of children being homeschooled tripled from 2,000 in 2013 to 6,000 in 2016. This is, however, an extremely conservative number as parents will not readily identify children who are not schooling at government-approved institutions out of fear of being persecuted.
As to why many parents choose to homeschool their children, it all boils down to the truth of what is being taught. “They [government syllabus] don’t present history in an impartial way. I want Hunter [child] to learn comprehensive history from reliable sources like The Story of Civilisation by Will Durant. You have to know about history to develop independent thinking,” Zhang Qiaofeng, an education business entrepreneur, said to South China Morning Post.
The state curriculum’s disdain of true history is apparent. After all, the communist ideology can only exist by distorting the past and presenting ideas like democracy, capitalism, and the free market as “evils.” Fortunately, many Chinese parents are starting to understand that such an education would leave their children handicapped when compared to kids of other nations. In fact, parents who want their children to grow up and explore the world outside China are more inclined to provide kids with homeschooling.
In addition to homeschooling, alternative education offered by small, local schools is also becoming popular with parents. “Some parents who found us described their children as on the verge of mental collapse. There’s a middle school in [provincial capital] Hangzhou where the teacher supervising children’s mental health has been referring students in need of help to us,” Wu Zhijian, who runs a small school, said to Sixth Tone.
Such private schools largely focus on allowing children to hone their specific talents rather than training them toward a singular goal of passing national exams. Teachers and students also tend to be closer to each other, which gives kids the confidence to pursue their actual interests.
Children who are schooled at home or through alternative education centers also tend to develop mature, highly inquisitive minds since they have not been subjected to rote learning practiced in larger schools.
A father of a girl was so worried about his daughter missing campus life that he rented a home on a university campus so that she could mingle with other students her age. However, he soon found out that his daughter had a different mindset than the kids at the university.
“She was disappointed by the college students… She had no trouble socializing with people, but she was interested only in talking to sophisticated people who were usually much older than her,” he said to South China Morning Post.
As Chinese parents discover far better options for their kids than regular schools, the number of children being homeschooled will only increase. What is to be seen is whether Beijing will initiate violent crackdowns on such parents and children who refuse to comply with the rules.