Rio 2016 have made a further 10,000 online English language courses available for taxi drivers ©Rio 2016

Rio 2016 has announced a further 10,000 online English language courses are now available to taxi drivers in the Brazilian city, in order to improve communication with tourists ahead of next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Open to all levels of ability, the courses are designed to run for four months and to assist drivers in their dealings with visitors during the Games, as well as in their day-to-day ferrying of foreign tourists.

It follows the launch of the initiative in August where 10,000 courses were also provided.

One of the principle aims of the scheme is to make things easier for visitors during their stay in the city for the Olympics and Paralympics, which open in August, and forms part of Education First's commitment to roll-out training to one million Brazilians.

Interested drivers have until tomorrow to sign-up for the programme, which they can do at the Ceprano Gas Station, and Rio 2016’s head of engagement Mariana Behr said the uptake has been encouraging so far.

“The drivers’ response to the initiative has been great,” she said.

“Several of them had previously said that the main reason for not learning English before was due to the lack of opportunity to do so.

“This course doesn’t impose on them a strict schedule so it suits their routine.

“They also said that a bit more knowledge in the language would be of great help to increase work opportunities with foreigners.”

Long queues were seen in Rio when the online English language courses for taxi drivers was launched in August
Long queues were seen in Rio de Janeiro when the online English language courses for taxi drivers were launched in August ©ITG

Behr also revealed in August that those from lower-income groups who are unlikely to be able to afford such courses independently were being targeted for the project.

Taxi drivers had claimed at the original launch of the initiative that they often found it difficult to communicate with non-Portuguese speakers.

Rio de Janeiro has 30,000 licensed taxis and the announcement of a further 10,000 courses suggests the demand for them remains high.

Improving the use of language in Brazil is one of the key legacies of the Games for organisers and the scheme could yet be rolled out beyond just taxi drivers as part of that commitment.

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March 2014: Education First appointed by Rio 2016 to provide second language training throughout Brazil