The first day of tests of the National High School Exam (Enem), this Sunday, 21, had 26% abstention. This year’s exam had already registered a historic drop in the number of entries. Only 2.3 million candidates attended the test. In previous editions, Enem received twice as many candidates.
“More important is not the number of applicants, but the number of those who actually came to take the test”, said the Minister of Education, Milton Ribeiro.
He countered criticisms that the absences are related to the MEC’s failure to improve education in the midst of the pandemic. As the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo showed, among the young people who gave up taking the test are those who did not feel prepared.
“It was a significant number because without Enem, a series of other steps in Brazilian education would suffer delays that could further harm young people who want to get started in higher education”, said Ribeiro. “These are people who decided to face all the difficulties.”
The minister also said that the content of the test seen on Sunday showed that there is “no room” for accusations about interference in Enem. Questions about class struggle, racism, gender inequality and indigenous themes fell on the test.
“They tried to politicize the race, there was no interference. Perhaps, if there was interference, it might be that some questions weren’t even there. There was no interference and no choice of questions”, said the minister.
Then, he tried to explain: “I wanted to emphasize that, if it depended on a radical vision, that the government is radical, there are issues that touch on some themes that, in a more conservative view, are more dear to our government.”
The Enem was held amidst the crisis of servers at the National Institute of Educational Studies and Research (Inep), responsible for the test.
Officials say there was pressure to exchange test questions.
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