I think it's to make sure they understood what was taught in the classroom. You know, .... To see if they can do it on their own.
With cut backs in school funding, the government wants you to learn on your own time too.
They don't do enough in school. School days have become shorter and there is so much to learn. Not only that but homework also teaches other life skills. Students learn to manage their time. They learn how to reason on their own without the help of a teacher or classmate. They learn to look for answers from other resources.
When I was in college, I WISHED I had homework so I actually knew what I had to study. At any competitive institution, you're pretty much on your own to study and memorize everything. There's not even classwork. You get assign things at the beginning of the quarter/semester with a due date, everything else is up to you.
Students at the top law schools pretty much make notes of every single page of their textbooks. Summarizing every paragraph. I've seen stacks of these notebooks. My engineering class ate,slept, and studied in lecture hall.
What's a little homework? Not like kids have anything better to do. They don't have to work or pay the bills.
It will help you to develop character. This is the ability to do things that you don't want to do but know must be done. In life this will be very important for you to have mastered. When you look around you will see the results of those that don't have character. They can't seem to keep a job, they can't be successful in relationships, and they have a hard time in coping with life's problems.