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The Department of Basic Education has come under fire for using celebrities to teach pupils during the lockdown

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Setting the record straight, the DBE has said that famous faces encourage South Africans to read.

Durban – The Department of Education has come under fire to using South African celebrities to teach pupils during the lockdown, however according to Elijah Mhlanga, spokesperson for the Department of Basic Education, famous faces encouraging South Africans to read should not be a cause for any negative reaction. 

Mhlanga further clarified that the initiative was created by a Non Profit Organisation called Africa Teen Geeks who approached the department with the idea for an intervention to support pupils during the lockdown. 

“The Lockdown Digital Classroom is not a formal school, in fact it is not a school. It is an out-school project that was put in place as a temporary activity to urge pupils to continue learning at home. It is optional and participation is voluntary. Of the 56 teachers involved, 54 are qualified and registered with the South African Council for Educators, the remaining two are student teachers,” he said. 

Here we go again setting the record straight:pic.twitter.com/T8efcT49e1

— Elijah Mhlanga (@ElijahMhlanga)April 14, 2020

The programme includes celebs like Somizi Mhlongo, Pearl Modiadie, Khaya Mthethwa and DJ Sbu. Mhlanga said the celebrities volunteered to promote the digital school, which has reached over 30,000 pupils so far.

Reacting to the programme, teacher union SADTU, slammed the department adding that the programme sought to undermine the teaching profession. 

The Department of Basic Education never consulted with SADTU about plans to hire celebrities to teach. We totally reject any plan that seeks to undermine the teaching profession#CelebritiesAreNotTeachers@TimesLIVE@DBE_SA@SADTUKZN@POWER987News

— SADTU National. (@SadtuNational)April 13, 2020

Celebrities cannot replace our teachers,@DBE_SA must stop undermining our profession.https://t.co/8s6cKUN1cT

— SADTU KZN (@SADTUKZN)April 13, 2020 I get it now, you do not understand why there is an outcry about this. Let me try like a lot of ppl have been trying. Remove celebrities from this, we do not care whether they are being paid or not. Remove the from reading, let them mobilize kids to listen from the professionals— Sithembiso (@Lwami_Sthe)April 14, 2020

Don’t explain Elijah act now.pic.twitter.com/lRtKskdWFy

— Sithembiso (@Lwami_Sthe)April 14, 2020

The Mercury