The University of Hawai‘i student government will vote tomorrow on a bill that aims to offer a free non-credit Hawaiian language class for students.
Senate Bill 20-20, which clarifies the appropriate funding for ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i Initiative, would offer students to learn and speak the language once a week from native or fluent speakers at UH Mānoa.
Raiyan Rafid, student senator of the Associated Students of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and the author of the bill, said he wants to keep the option open for students who may not have the money to pay for classes.
“I come from a place where language is important,” Rafid, who is an international student from Bangladesh, said. “The culture is similar here.”
If the bill passes, it will go into effect the first week of the spring semester.
ASUH would fund $3,500 for the class. $3,000 is allocated to pay the people teaching the class, while $500 is for advertising.
Rafid said he’s currently working with the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies find the instructors to teach the class.
The bill comes as part of an effort to preserve the Hawaiian language. According to the Endangered Languages Project, there are only about 300 native Hawaiian speakers, with about two to three thousand native English speakers who learned Hawaiian as an additional language.
The ASUH meeting will be held at UH Mānoa’s Campus Center Room 310 at 6 p.m.
To submit testimonies, go to https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdAimI5TZH5Dn8buCQ8kn3mAdMoftO_B7YugQittHYq8pu3bA/viewform