Penny Lebyane stands by her book club reading gig amid backlash -‘It’s a good thing I’m doing’
Radio personality and television host Penny Lebyane has hit back at hate directed at celebrities who volunteered their time to read books to young pupils during the lockdown.
Scores took to Twitter on Monday to accuse the department of basic education of “sidelining” qualified teachers and educators by recruiting celebrities and influencers including Penny Lebyane, Pearl Modiadie and Mohale Motaung-Mhlongo for the lockdown digital school.
The initiative is by Africa Teen Geeks in partnership with DBE and the Sasol Foundation. Lessons are made available on online platforms such as YouTube, Zoom and Facebook through its virtual intelligence-based educational platform, Ms Zora.
Penny defended her actions.
The DBE campaign, ne?
I wish they’d led with actual teachers doing classes, & made them the heroes of the campaign.
Then they coulda sprinkled in the info about celebs doing readings as an ad break-nyana.
Coz now, peeps think celebs are teaching, hence mess & outrage.
— marang setshwaelo (@marangdream) April 12, 2020
We are barking at the tree that thinks this initiative is better facilitated by celebs instead if teachers. Trees that don't see how having teachers as facilitators is better and more effective for not only our kids but teaching interns. Some kids don't even like u.
— Ma-B (@QueenMa_B) April 13, 2020
Africa Teen Geeks issued a statement on Tuesday in which it clarified that 56 qualified teachers and two student teachers were recruited to the programme.
It said celebrities and public figures are part of a reading club which seeks to raise awareness about the initiatives among children between grades R and 3.
“The initiative is aimed at supporting the department of basic education efforts to keep learning and teaching going even during the current lockdown following the closure of schools to combat the spread of coronavirus.”