Friday, October 29, 2021

Kurdish language on offer as elective course in Nashville, Tennessee

After years of work by the Kurdish community in Nashville, Tennessee, a Kurdish language course is now on offer as an elective class in select schools in the state.

Rahim Rashidi/ Washington, K24

WASHINGTON (Kurdistan 24) – In July 2017, Mr. Nawzad Hawrami was one of the board members of the Salahaldeen Center of Nashville who proposed to the Metro Public School District to teach the Kurdish language in middle and high schools in the district as an elective.
Read More: US school board in Nashville approves Kurdish language course
The school district approved the request by Mr. Hawrami and sent it to the Nashville Metropolitan Board of Education for final approval. The city is known for its sizeable Kurdish population and has even earned the nickname “Little Kurdistan.”
Over 1,100 Kurdish students from different parts of the city attend public schools in Nashville.
By the end of 2017, the Tennessee Department of Education had approved the request and asked that the Salahaldeen Center of Nashville send them the curriculum that would be used in the classes.
Mr. Hawrami and a few other board members of the Salahadeen center visited the district’s high schools that had a sizeable Kurdish student enrollee. They encouraged the classes of 2018 and 2019 to take advantage of this elective as it was their native tongue.
During those two years, not enough students signed up for the course. In 2020, however, around seventy-five students registered, but the COVID-19 pandemic affected schooling in general, and the project was put on hold.
The Salahadeen center’s board is now working with the Metro Board of Education to change the enrollee requirement so the classes can resume without a large student registration requirement.
The center has also communicated with local universities and colleges in Nashville and surrounding areas to have the Kurdish language taught.
The Indiana University of Bloomington recently learned of the Kurdish courses and became interested in helping bring them to students. Dr. Hayder Khzri, a Kurdish language teacher from Nashville, worked with the university to establish a college-level Kurdish language course in Nashville and nearby areas.
A grant was submitted to make this project a success. In addition, the university partnered with the Nashville State Community College and worked with the United States Department of Education to offer Kurdish language classes.
The grant was approved, and the first course began on Oct. 20. Fifteen students signed up for the course.
Many more have also enrolled for subsequent semesters, with more students finding out from school, other students, and their friends.

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