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February 20, 2014

Homeschooling in Chinese-Speaking Countries in Asia

Participants at the Chinese National Conference

Exciting changes are developing in Chinese-speaking countries in Asia! Families from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and 12 Chinese provinces recently gathered in Xiamen, China for the 5th Annual Homeschool Conference. Although homeschooling is not yet legal in China, the Chinese government has not formally forbidden homeschooling either. Many families are drawn to the freedom and flexibility that homeschooling offers. 240 participants gathered from January 21–23 to share experiences and learn from Taiwanese and other homeschoolers. Steven Huang, former Chairman of the Mujen Chinese Christian Home Educators’ Association (MCCHEA) in Taiwan, and Tim Chen, organizer of Taiwan Homeschool Advocates were on hand. Families at the conference represented a variety of backgrounds, from farmers to martial arts coaches to professors. More than half of the parents had college or higher degrees.

It is estimated that there are currently more than 10,000 homeschooled students in China. Thousands are added to that number every year.

“Homeschooling in China is now a successful bottom-up movement,” Tim Chen reports. “While the legal framework is still far from perfect, many of the practical issues such as obtaining graduation certificates have been addressed by helpful private schools.”

Parents at a conference workshop

Chuo-chuin Fan, involved in leadership of MCCHEA, adds, “We anticipate significant demand for homeschooling in the next ten years, in China as well as in other Chinese-speaking countries in Asia. It is our prayer that governments in these countries will heed the voice of their people.”

Taiwan legalized homeschooling in 1999. Today homeschoolers have the freedom not only to educate their children at home freely from grades 1 through 12, but to enjoy more admission channels into college than ever before.

Through the years, the Taiwanese Education Bureau has shifted from a supervisory role to that of counselor, assisting homeschooling families to pursue more and more diversified schooling plans. The office has also been observing the successful homeschooling experience, hoping to apply it to the public school system.

In December 2013, the Education Bureau of Hong Kong sent seven government officials and experts to Taiwan to meet with homeschooling representatives. Their purpose was to gather data from the 14 years of homeschool experience in Taiwan and to evaluate the possibility of legalizing homeschooling in Hong Kong. This is the second trip the Education Bureau has made for policy regarding homeschooling, indicating that they are very serious and cautious about it.

Continue to watch Asia as homeschooling grows!

Thanks to Mujen Chinese Christian Home Educators Association and Taiwan Homeschool Advocates for submitting information for this article.

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