14 April 2020
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON STEM LOCKDOWN DIGITAL SCHOOL AND READING CLUB
14 April 2020
14 April 2020
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON STEM LOCKDOWN DIGITAL SCHOOL AND
The Department of Basic Education would like to clear the misunderstanding regarding the Lockdown Digital
The initiative was created by a Non-Profit-Organization called Africa Teen Geeks who approached the
Department with an idea for an intervention to support learners during the lockdown resulting from COVID-19.
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 learners to continue learning at home. It is optional and
participation is voluntary. No subscription is required. It is free. Of the 56 teachers involved 54 are qualified
and registered with the South African Council for Educators (SACE). Two are student teachers.
The initiative is funded by the SASOL Foundation.
There are two components to the project and both are running concurrently.
STEM Lockdown Digital School Lockdown Book Reading Club
Support learners with school work during
Teaching qualification or training in teaching.
Raise awareness about
No qualification required for
joining a Book Reading Club
The STEM Lockdown Digital School that caters for learners in
Grade R to 12. There are 54 fully qualified teachers who joined
after responding to an advert which recruited teachers to take part. The teachers are paid R10 000 -R15 000 depending when they joined the programme.
The second component involves the Lockdown
Digital Reading Club, which has ambassadors
(also referred to as celebrities) who have
volunteered their time. They do no formal
teaching. They are reading books for Grade R
Their role is to raise awareness on the
importance of reading. They do not get paid.
54 fully qualified teachers x 2 students’ teachers
(PAID with sponsorship from SASOL)
Gracian Junior Chimanda 12 Mathematics
Hazel Chigwada 12 English
Renier Engelbrecht 12 Cat
Duduzile Kubheka 12 Maths lit
Mickey Vermeulen 12 Physical Science
Sibusiso Masombuka 12 LO
Lilane Le Grange 12 IT
Mohale Motaung 11 English
Andile Zondi 11 Maths lit 11
Puleng Letsika 11 LO
Mosala Leburu 11 Physical Science
Bernard Vashoma 11 CAT
Mbali Tshabalala 11 Mathematics
Levern Naicker 11 IT
Anele Siswana 10 English
Sibusiso Masombuka 10 LO
Tapiwa Nyamunda 10 Maths lit Gr
Mickey Vermeulen 10 Physical Science
Karen Andersen 10 IT
Matthew Hainz 10 CAT
Chante Groenewald 10 Mathematics
Ali Mogale 9 English
X Mbatha 9 Natural Science
Hendrick Makaneta 9 Mathematics
Jackie Moeng 8 English
A Haffejee 8 Natural Science
Hendrick Makaneta 8 Mathematics
Kay Gqabe 7 English
Alex Songo 7 Natural Science
Luleka Dlakiya 7 Mathematics
Wouter Theron 7 Coding
Fiona Beal 6 English
Karabo Kgashane 6 Natural Science
Thabitah Bonkolo 6 Mathematics
Sheena Cooney 5 English
Neo Mashilo/ Lucky 5 Natural Science
Nancy Maluleke 5 Mathematics
Tarryn Currie 4 English
Ben Pudyane 4 Natural Science
Nancy Maluleke 4 Mathematics
Chiponoso Longwe 3 Numeracy
Chiponoso Longwe 3 Literacy
Rohini Pillay 2 Numeracy
N Makoohe 2 Literacy
Mauricia Jacobs 1 Numeracy
Elindi van den Heever 1 Literacy
Monique Keller Grade R Numeracy
Elindi van den Heever Grade R Literacy
Charmaine Cowell 4-6 Coding Advisor
Danielle van Eck Science Subject Advisor
Riefqah Sasman - English FAL Subject Advisor
Sonja De Bruyn - Foundation Phase Advisor
Steve Sheman - Maths & Maths lit Advisor
List of Ambassadors for Book
(No Payment involved)
Executive Director of UN Women - Dr
Minister of Basic Education –
Mrs Angie Motshekga,
Deputy Minister of Basic Education Dr
Director General – Mathanzima Mweli
Former Stats General Dr Pali Lehohla,
DJ Sbu Leope
Enhle Mbali Mlotshwa
DJ Lamiez Holworthy
Bonginkosi Dlamini – Zola 7
Chrismie van Zyl
Gerdie van Zyl
Mohale Motaung-Mhlongo (Current student at IMM Graduate
School 1st year, previously with Wits University)
Mbali Tshabalala (Chartered Accountant by Profession and
Advert used to recruit qualified teachers.
volunteered to participate.
Anybody wishing to join is
still welcomed to do so as
there are no formalities
The initiative is the brainchild of Africa Teen Geeks, an organization that does work in the basic education sector.
The organization approached the Department of Basic Education seeking support. There is no financial
implication to the Department but only advocacy support as the project is fully aligned with the work of the
Department especially during the COVID-19 lockdown. There was no tender involved.
ATG on its website and through its social media handles advertised that it sought #Stem teachers to
apply and become part of the #Lockdown e-school. ATG received over 9000 applications. A proper
screening process was undertaken and 54 teachers were appointed to assist with the catch-up
lessons. Two of them student teachers. In short, qualified teachers who were unemployed were
requested to apply to become part of the teaching pilot programme.
There was no intention to undermine the teaching profession in anyway. The 56 teachers involved in the actual
learner support programme are qualified or in the process of obtaining their teaching qualification. The use of
ambassadors to promote reading has been in place since the Read to Lead campaign was launched in 2015.
The practice of using familiar personalities to drive campaign is an age-old strategy used to promote worthy
causes such as the reading revolution.
Both the Department and Africa Teen Geeks have welcomed the interest shown in the initiative and encourages
members of the public to continue to focus on literacy and numeracy campaigns. The Department invites
members of the public to form book clubs or existing clubs to share their reading activities online or exchange
their reading lists. The Department urges parents to continue to support their children at home while schools
remain closed due to the coronavirus.
The Department has made available online resources that are user-friendly and appreciates the involvement of
partners in minimizing the impact of the COVID-19 on basic education. The Department urges parents to
continue supporting their children at home during the lockdown.
More information about available resources can be found on www.education.gov.za
Media Enquiries: Elijah Mhlanga - 083 580 8275
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF BASIC EDUCATION