The basic education department has been slammed by some for hiring celebrities and social media influencers as “digital teachers” during the lockdown, instead of professional teachers and educators.
The digital learning initiative, Free Stem Lockdown Digital School, started over the Easter weekend and is aimed to assist pupils with their studies during the extended lockdown, set until the end of April.
Local celebrities such as Enhle Mbali, Pearl Modiadie, Somizi, Penny Lebyane, Khaya Mthethwa and DJ Sbu are just a few names that have been hired by the department.
The initiative, in partnership with the Sasol Foundation, focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics and it conducted through a virtual intelligence-based educational platform, Ms Zora.
Many South Africans were not pleased about the department’s choice of candidates and set Twitter ablaze under the hashtag #CelebritiesAreNotTeachers.
Professional teachers and educators also took to the platform to air their dismay, saying the department was undermining those that have teaching qualifications.
Here is a snapshot of what tweeps had to say:
I understand the bag must be secured under these tough economic times but @DBE_SA could’ve also added celebs with education background
Tshidi from Malaika used to be a teacher
Kenny Kunene is also a qualified teacher
Lady Zamar used to be a lecturer#CelebritiesAreNotTeachers
— Tumelo (@DjNewAfrica) April 13, 2020
Doing my Final year in education and this is the most painful thing I’ve seen in my entire life!!! Like I said I’ll frame it put it on the wall try to look for other Avenues… 4 years for this nonsense #CelebritiesAreNotTeachers pic.twitter.com/hR5cgCrG7f
— BILTONG 🎲 (@THIZOZO_MOKOENA) April 13, 2020
The greatest mistake I made was not being a celebrity
I would’ve volunteered if I knew 😭😭 pic.twitter.com/57ghtbLguy
— Zukiswa Eunice Soga (@soga_zukiswa) April 13, 2020
“Connections speak louder than qualifications”
– South African proverb
Somizi can not sing but his an IdolsSA judge,
This will be the highest order of disrespect of S.A. teachers if Celebs are allowed to teach without qualifications
— Lerato Pillay (@uLerato_pillay) April 13, 2020
The problem with Mzansi is that we are led by politicians who are obsessed with fame and bright lights, that’s why you have Mbalula sharing cabinet decisions with Somizi, why Julius was defending Shimza’s snobbery and now this nonsense from @DBE_SA #CelebritiesAreNotTeachers
— vusi (@vmona31) April 13, 2020
Im not being malice in any way, but guys did it not occur to you to advise whoever it is from @DBE_SA who gave you the teaching tender to get real qualified teachers? @mohale_motaung @PennyLebyane @PearlModiadie do you understand how critical this period for learners is?
— MaNdaba (@_Teegan_) April 13, 2020
This is not something to joke about and write funny memes making people laugh. This is Serious, Graduates are sitting at home job hunting everyday people are laughing at them saying they went to study for nothing and now this happens.This is not funny.#CelebritiesAreNotTeachers pic.twitter.com/NUTIx969yh
— NomvulaM (@Nomvuula1) April 13, 2020
By Unathi Nkanjeni – TimesLive