Rio 2016 and Education First to teach second language to over one million Brazilians

Partnership will leave important legacy to Brazil and enable employees and volunteers to welcome the world in 2016

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The agreement between Rio 2016 and Education First was signed at the organising committee HQ  (Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro)
The agreement between Rio 2016 and Education First was signed at the organising committee HQ (Photo: Rio 2016/Alex Ferro)

More than one million Brazilians will be trained in a second language after the Rio 2016 Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games and Education First (EF) signed an agreement on Thursday, making the international education company the official supplier of language training services for the Games.

From 2015, EF will deliver language training to candidates for the Rio 2016 volunteer programme, organising committee staff and contractors, and Brazilian school children.

Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman said: "We are very pleased to partner with the expertise and experience of EF, to fulfil our common goal of creating a lasting legacy for language learning in Brazil.

"This programme will provide many thousands of volunteers and staff involved with the Rio 2016 Games with the language skills necessary to warmly welcome athletes and visitors from all around the world. The skills will also benefit these individuals in their future lives and careers, providing a positive contribution to society well beyond 2016."

The language training programme, which will also be integrated with the Rio 2016 education and culture programmes, will help prepare the Games volunteers by offering a one-year course. For the general public, a website will offer a basic English course and also provide information about the Games. 

"We met with many companies before choosing which one would be our partner in this category," said Renato Ciuchini, Rio 2016’s Chief Commercial Officer. "Beside EF’s service quality, their main differential was that they were very focused on legacy. We thought of how to reach beyond what we needed for the Games and really bring benefits to the Brazilian people."

This focus on legacy means that all candidates for the Rio 2016 volunteer programme - not only those who are selected - will be trained in a second language. English, Spanish and French will be the main courses.

The agreement builds on EF’s long association with the Olympic Games, which stretches back to the Seoul Games in 1988. More recently it was official language supplier to the Beijing 2008 and Sochi 2014 Games.

“We are enormously proud to be the official language training services supplier to the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said Philip Hult, EF's Co-Chairman. “With a shared mission in promoting international friendship and exchange, EF has a strong background in supporting the Olympics. As we celebrate EF’s 50th anniversary, we are committed to helping stage the most successful Games ever.”

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