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In today’s globalized world, English is used as an international language and a tool for communication among multilingual and multicultural speakers in diverse contexts and purposes. As a consequence, the outnumbering of Native English Speaking Teachers (NESTs) by Non-native English Speaking Teachers (NNESTs) is undeniable and the inequality is on the uptrend. In this light therefore, this paper aims to investigate the perception of Thai university students and lecturers on the prevailing divide between NESTs and NNESTs in Thailand. A questionnaire survey of 200 Thai students and 20 Thai English lecturers across four universities in Thailand were sampled. A semi-structured interview was employed for qualitative data collection from 20 students and 10 lecturers across the selected universities. The data was analyzed using qualitative content analysis. The findings showed that NESTs and NNESTs are constructed differently by the participants in five major aspects: Cultural sensitivity, Language background, Teaching capacity, Persona, and Employment preference. Key to this finding is the fact that being NESTs or NNESTs do not affect teaching performance. They are perceived by the participants as equally qualified English teachers. However, a discriminatory hiring practice, which favors NESTs, are still reported due to Thai traditional ideologies and external pressures from the Thai society. This has potential implications for how educational institutions and hiring agencies should not continue the discriminatory hiring practices for both groups of English teachers in Thailand.
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