San Francisco City College administrator seeks to save Cantonese language classes – CBS San Francisco
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) – As City College San Francisco’s Cantonese-language program faces elimination due to budget cuts, a City College administrator on Wednesday announced a proposal to rescue the program – which he said , is essential for the city’s historic Chinese community.
For the next spring semester, City College will only be offering one Cantonese course.
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City College board member Alan Wong said because the program does not offer a certificate, it is likely to be scaled back as community colleges receive funding in part based on achievement results measured by diplomas and certificates.
Wong proposed to put City College on a path to including Cantonese language courses in degree and certificate granting programs by establishing transfer agreements with four-year institutions like the University of California, so that courses Cantonese count towards obtaining a diploma. In addition, Wong’s proposal calls for City College to develop a certificate for Cantonese courses.
Wong noted that his proposal would not generate new costs for the struggling school.
âSaving the Cantonese agenda is not just about protecting Chinese culture, language and history. It is also about the very practical need to ensure that our very large Cantonese-speaking Chinese community has access to public safety, health care and social services, âhe said in a statement. âReducing the program would wipe out an entire population that needs bilingual services.
Cantonese is the language most spoken by the Chinese community in the city.
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Although Cantonese classes serve several different purposes for students, Wong said the classes also serve public security, health care and social workers who serve Chinese residents.
Wong’s proposal is supported by more than 20 community organizations, including Self Help for the Elderly, Chinese Hospital, Chinatown Community Children’s Center, and Chinese for Affirmative Action, among others.
âHealth and safety are on the minds of Chinese elderly people. Many are locked in their homes and afraid to go out. Our elderly community has insufficient access to social and victim support services due to the language barrier. Seniors often decide not to ask for help or to call 911 because they think no one will be able to talk to them, âsaid Anni Chung, President and CEO of Self Help for the Elderly. âHelping the younger generation become bilingual will help fill the communication gaps our seniors face. “
âIt is difficult for victims in need of interpretation to use a telephone interpretation application to communicate in an emergency. When victims hear me speak Cantonese, immediate trust is established and the victim is relieved, âsaid paramedic and firefighter Doug Mei of the Asian Firefighters Association. âUnfortunately, we don’t have enough bilingual first responders with adequate language skills. This is where the City College courses come in.
Earlier this year, college officials cited low enrollment rates as the reason the school faced a budget deficit of more than $ 22.7 million and was considering budget cuts, including layoffs and l elimination of several programs.
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