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Volume 1 Number 1, Spring 2004, Pages 1-403   

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Ageism: A Barrier to Plans to Boost Fluency in English?

    Bill Templer

Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 64? (Beatles song)
In a number of East Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, and across much of the Arab world, there is a discriminatory impediment to improving the quality of English teaching that should be addressed: ageism in work permit laws. Ageism, best defined as “systematic stereotyping and discrimination against people because they are old” (Templer, 2002, 2003) is common in many countries. Ageism in employment involves setting arbitrary mandatory age limits for employees, such as teachers or civil servants, or practicing discrimination, often hidden, in hiring or retaining employees even in their 40s and 50s. It may be especially insidious directed against older women. A survey by the author of EFL job openings posted in Thailand in March 2004 indicates that some ads specify that candidates over a set age (often 45, sometimes 30, in one case 58) need not apply. Clearly, some of this is overt ageism.