The Basic Education Department says there has been a misunderstanding regarding the use of celebrities on an online teaching platform.

On Monday, the department came under fire on social media where scores of people accused it of undermining teachers and the profession by hiring celebrities as online teachers during the lockdown.

Bathong..we are qualified employed teachers,we can do this for free and do justice to our kids. Respect our proffession pls..mohale o tsebang ka english ya grade 11.mxm.

โ€” Pheladiโค (@khomoKhuzwayo) April 12, 2020

Mohale used “I’m sitting quickly” as a grade 11 English class example ??? ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜‚ cancel 2020 please

โ€” Gabrielle K.๐Ÿ‘‘ (@Gabbie_Kamo12) April 13, 2020

The department’s spokesperson Elijah Mhlanga says it an initiative of a non-profit organisation and the celebrities are volunteering their services.

He says the majority of the people involved in the initiative are qualified teachers.

“There’s no payment to celebrities. They are volunteering their time. These are the people who volunteered to use their influence and their networks to raise awareness on the importance of reading. People who are getting paid, however are the teachers who have been screened and selected on the basis of their qualifications and training in teaching.”

This video focuses on COVID-19 impact on 2020 academic year:

Meanwhile, teachers’ union SADTU’s deputy general-secretary Nkosana Dolopi says although they welcome any effort to help learners during lockdown, the teaching profession shouldn’t be undermined.

“We would want to avoid a situation of anyone from anywhere coming and be given an important task to teach our children. You must remember children are our treasure. They are our future. Whatever we do, we must make sure that we do not destroy their futures and their minds.”