Colonialism ‘still’ Rules in English Language Teaching: Recruitment to Prestige Programs in Saudi Arabia Universities


In the field of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), studies and scholarly publications questioning the NEST/NNEST (Native-English-Speaker Teacher/ Non-native-English-Speaker Teacher) dichotomy have steadily increased over the last 25 years. This dichotomy has resulted in discriminatory practices against NNESTs, underpinning the contested assumption that native speaker status should be the gold standard in TESOL. This study explores how this problematic perception plays out in the specific context of the Preparatory Year Programs (PYP) in two Saudi universities. This study, based on the analysis of 18 teacher interviews, examines the lived experiences of university English teachers, both native and non-native, locally and internationally recruited, working in the same programs. This paper discusses two themes: the participants’ qualifications and their beliefs about the main reason why they were recruited. The data indicate that only a few teachers believe that being a NS is the main factor in being hired whereas the majority believe that qualifications are the most important requirements for job recruitment. As the most required and obtained certificate for English Language Teaching (ELT) in the PYP, The Cambridge Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults (CELTA) does appear to replace the NS status requirement based on the participants’ opinions. However, CELTA does not escape criticism as an English teaching qualification. The study argues that buying into the CELTA requirement perpetuates colonialism in ELT.


Alya Alshammari


CELTA; English teacher qualifications; NESTs; NNESTs; teacher recruitment