UH Hilo program receives “world’s first” accreditation

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Date: Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

A program to integrate education from preschool to graduate school at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has received a “world’s first” accreditation.

The World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium recently awarded accreditation to the Hawaiian Mauli Ola Education System at UH Hilo’s Ka Haka ‘Ula O Ke‘elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language. It is the first accreditation WINHEC has awarded to a preschool to graduate school, or P-20, program.

The system is unique and distinct in its use of Hawaiian as the language of instruction and has a proven record of producing college- and career-ready high school graduates. Created through a mandate from the 1997 Hawai‘i State Legislature, the system now serves some 1,500 students.

Ke‘elikōlani Director Dr. Kalena Silva and Professor Keiki Kawai‘ae‘a received the recognition at the WINHEC general annual meeting held at Sami University College in Guovdageaidnu, Norway in August.

“Several features of this accreditation make this recognition significant,” Silva said. “Indigenous peoples throughout the world are losing their languages to extinction. WINHEC accreditation recognizes Ke‘elikōlani College's success in revitalizing Hawaiian and in creating an educational model from which other indigenous peoples may learn and take inspiration. In the face of current difficult economic circumstances in the U.S., this accreditation also allows us to apply for program funding that might not be available to us otherwise.”


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