Moscow, Feb 13 (IANS) Residents and officials of the Russian city of Sochi, the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, can study English for free.
Some of them may enhance their command of English voluntarily while others must learn the language as part of their work duties, reports Xinhua.
The local authorities are attempting to make their city tourist-friendly prior to the expected heavy inflow of foreign guests next February when the 22nd Winter Olympics will be held in the subtropical resort.
According to the official website of the city, Sochi struck a deal with one of the world's leading English-teaching agencies in September 2011. The teachers receive their remuneration from the city budget directly.
So far some 1,500 out of Sochi's 360,000 residents have utilised the opportunity to learn basic English for a song, the city hall's representative Yelena Sigareva said. In addition, last April the city launched a massive "A Word A Day" project among local residents to learn over 660 most frequently used words of the English vocabulary.
Unlike the Black Sea resort's residents, the Sochi officials study English mandatory, Sigareva said. Each employee of the city services must learn at least one English word a day, she said. Sigareva did not specify if any tests were conducted to check the progress of English fluency among the city clerks.
If "A Word A Day" project proves to be successful it will be repeated during preparations for the Formula 1 race due in Sochi in Oct 2014 and the FIFA World Cup due in 2018 in 13 cities across Russia.