It’s illegal, but these Chinese parents say they so much want the best for their children, they’re willing to homeschool them, hiding from the government on an as-needed basis.
Homeschooling has been booming for years in America, where there are millions, and there are several countries in Europe where’s it is thriving even though officials don’t like it much at all.
Now a report South China Morning Post has detailed the relatively small – but growing – homeschool community there.
Most Chinese parents look forward to having their children in universities, then landing a job in finance, medicine, or engineering.
Tsang Tsz-Kin, however, a dance teacher, prefers to have his son, Ocean, 10, pursuing what he wants to do.
“People who love doing their jobs will think nothing of working overtime,” Tsang said in the report.
His son “watches online pingshu performances every day. He likes reading the stories aloud with facial expressions, hand movements and vocal intonations. He could be a DJ when he grows up.”
Classes include Chinese, English, math and more, with his father as well as private tutors and arts teachers.
The Post report explained, “There are no official statistics on the number of parents homeschooling their children in China, and unofficial figures vary widely. The latest figures released by 21st Century Education Research Institute, a think tank, estimated there were 6,000 children being homeschooled in the country in 2016, up from 2,000 in 2013. However the WeChat account of China Home-schooling – an online alliance of educators and parents – has more than 23,000 members.”
The report noted that there’s been so much interest the nation’s Education Ministry issued a gentle hint recently that “it’s forbidden to conduct homeschooling education to replace the compulsory education…”
But China is so large, and there are so many people, homeschoolers simply choose to go about their business.
“Ocean’s mother, Cissy Ji, from Qingdao, in the eastern province of Shandong, says Ocean’s hukou – his household registration, which governs where he can access public services – is in her hometown because he was born there,” the report explained.
“He studied kindergarten in Qingdao and later primary school [until he finished the first semester of Primary Three] in Shenzhen [a city in southern China bordering Hong Kong] after we moved there. Although it’s against the law not to send your children to school in China, it’s difficult to trace such cases because [people move around the country],” Ji told the newspaper.
One reason many homeschool parents cite is the “mind-numbing indoctrination” of government classrooms, the report said.
Other parents choose to fund private educational centers for their children. One recent development includes a 3,000-square meter structure with 80 teachers and more than 300 students.