The City College of San Francisco is launching two new Cantonese certificate programs in the 2023-24 school year, Trustee Alan Wong announced.
Thanks to the work of Wong and more than 40 community groups, the City College’s Cantonese program is here to stay after it nearly ended due to budget cuts.
Students interesting in learning the language have two choices under the college’s world languages department — enroll in a 9-unit program for conversational Cantonese, or a 17-unit program for Chinese Cantonese, which also includes Asian American studies classes.
City College is one of 18 higher education institutions in the nation that teaches Cantonese, according to the Cantonese Language Association.
“If you want to learn Cantonese to serve your community or talk to family members, come to City College!”Alan Wong, City College of San Francisco trustee
And since 2019, every Cantonese class offered since Fall 2019 has had over 100 percent enrollment, according to City College data.
“After a long fight, our movement to save the Cantonese program at City College has succeeded. I am ecstatic that City College of San Francisco will finally provide equity to the Cantonese speaking community,” said Wong. “Beginning in Fall 2023, the brand-new Cantonese certificate programs will be listed in the academic catalog and available for students. If you want to learn Cantonese to serve your community or talk to family members, come to City College!”
In Fall 2021, City College considered cutting the Cantonese program to prioritize classes that contribute to a degree or certificate.
The City College Board of Trustees eventually passed a resolution by Wong in January 2022 following outcry from community organizations and the general public. Wong said there needs to be more first responders that are proficient in Cantonese.
“We need to rescue the Cantonese program to stop Asian hate and make sure the Chinese community has access to bilingual services,” said Wong.