Coursera expands in Brazil

Education venture boosts its online course portfolio in Portuguese to address language gap, plans further growth.

Online learning firm Coursera is boosting its course portfolio in Portuguese as part of an expansion plan for Brazil.

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Coursera's offerings from schools like Stanford and Yale are popular amongst Brazilians, but the language gap is a big challenge: according to the company, over 90 percent of Brazilians take courses on the platform in English - but that audience was limited.

"The fact that only 5 percent of Brazilians speak English at the proficiency level required to understand university-level courses meant that 95 percent of the population wasn't able to access Coursera's benefits," says senior regional manager for Brazil at Coursera, Angela Romero.

In order to bridge that language gap, the company has partnered with local universities and business schools to launch 24 Portuguese language courses and one specialization. Topics range from project management and software design to data analytics and digital marketing.

According to Romero, Coursera sought to ensure that the courses were relevant to Brazil and its job market: in order to define the topics, the company mapped the local jobs market and the areas with most vacancies.

Coursera is planning on expanding in Brazil, says Romero, and more educational programs will be launched in Portuguese over the next few months.

However, the online learning company is not looking into opening an office in Brazil and the country will continue to be managed from the firm's headquarters in Mountain View, California.