The original article requires translation.
The National Institute of Educational Studies and Research Anísio Teixeira (Inep) rejected the request for postponement of the exams of the National High School Examination (Enem) of 2020 made by the State Secretariat of Education of Bahia, by means of a letter sent to the agency last Monday (28/12).
In a note to Eu, Student, Inep confirms that “it received a document from the Bahia Department of Education with the request to postpone Enem 2020 and reiterates that the exam application dates are maintained in January 2021”.
The agency informs that it will adopt a series of measures to increase the safety of students during the face-to-face tests. Among them are the supply of gel alcohol in the rooms used in the application, the mandatory use of facial protection and the use of only 50% of the capacity of each classroom.
Bahia Secretary of Education complains about lack of dialogue with MEC
Author of the postponement request, the Secretary of Education of Bahia, Jerônimo Rodrigues, complains about the lack of dialogue between the Ministry of Education (MEC) and Inep with state education secretaries.
“We have been trying to talk, for a long time, with the Minister of Education, Milton Ribeiro, and we have not succeeded. Since taking office, there is no dialogue with state secretaries, there is no joint agenda. At these times it is very clear to us that there are political sides at stake ”, he reveals.
"This is no time to be away, we are talking about Brazilian education and we need to be together," he says.
The request was a way of avoiding the exposure of Enem candidates to the increase in Covid-19 cases in the country - on Monday (28/12), Brazil registered 495 deaths and 25 thousand new ones infected. For him, it is not just a matter of offering adequate structures for the test site, but of ensuring the safety of the student in every journey he takes to school.
“We were in several municipalities to find out about the reality of the students and in one of them, in Heliópolis, candidates will have to go to another municipality to take the tests. In other words, they will use public transport, which will not respect safety rules and will be at risk ”, he says. In 2020, 67,000 candidates will take the exam in Bahia, an increase of 20,000 enrollments, according to the Secretariat.
The secretary also draws attention to the agglomerations in front of schools on test days, with the presence of parents, candidates, street workers and professionals who will work on the application.
Another point raised by the secretary is the lack of preparation time for candidates who will leave high school. “With the pandemic, there was not enough class to complete the content of the third year. We are struggling to guarantee education, but sometimes the effort is not enough since there are people who do not have internet or a computer at home ”, he says.
The secretary makes it clear that the intention is not to boycott the exam, but to guarantee its smooth functioning. “We do not want cancellation, but the postponement of evidence. We are doing our part and we have preparatory classes every Tuesday and Friday on our Youtube channel, in addition to handouts on the Secretariat's portal and content on the state's public TV ”, he says.
“We are not standing still and we are doing our best to prepare our candidates, but we firmly understand that our role is to ensure that students can, in the best way, fulfill the dream of having access to higher education through Enem”, he concludes.
Ubes and UNE charge structured actions
The president of the Brazilian Union of Secondary Students (Ubes), Rozana Barroso, said that the solution is not just to postpone Enem, but to structure collective actions for the exam.
“Since the first postponement, we asked Inep to form a committee with students, education professionals in basic and higher education, health professionals and members of the agency, to act as a working group that thinks about assertive actions for Enem to be safely, ”he says.
Rozana says that without a dialogue between all the entities involved in the examination process, there will be no progress. “We need solutions and that will only exist with conversation. The scenario is not good. Universities already have defined calendars and some say that they will not receive students classified by Enem because the test is indefinite ”.
“Brazilian schools are not prepared for the return to classes or for Enem. They postponed the exam for the first time and pushed their stomachs in here. No more. We had a meeting with Inep and we continue to try to talk to MEC. We want assertive actions ”, she charges.
In a note, the national president of the National Students Union (UNE) Iago Montalvão reinforces Ubes' position. "For weeks, entities have been charging the MEC to organize a working group and to discuss the exam date and the schedule of federal programs".
He also states that "the Ministry has not said anything, even with the increase in cases" and with "states entering the red phase, a factor that affects the performance of the test". UNE emphasizes that it is in contact with state deans and secretaries to seek solutions and “prevent the MEC from weakening the mechanisms of access to universities”.
Infectologist warns of risk in the application of tests
Lívia Vanessa Ribeiro, an infectious disease specialist at the Hospital de Base Institute, says that performing Enem in a period of increase in cases of covid-19 is putting the health of the candidates at risk. “Housing several students indoors for several hours can result in countless contaminations,” he says.
"We know that classrooms do not always have adequate ventilation and, many, use air conditioning that does not have adequate air renewal," he says. For the specialist, Inep should promote specific actions to prevent cases, such as carrying out tests to detect the virus.
“Performing RT-PCR tests on all students and workers could minimize the cases, but there would still be a possibility that the virus would not be detected. Another option is to use open or well-ventilated places, with a minimum distance of two meters between the participants ”, she says.
Another necessary action, according to Lívia, is to train the team to detect possible signs and symptoms among students during the exams. "If detected, it is necessary to isolate them promptly," he says.
The infectologist predicts a worse scenario on the test date and calls on candidates to redouble their care to prevent the virus. "The pandemic is not over and the increase in the number of cases is expected to worsen in January thanks to the end-of-year agglomerations", he points out.
"Unfortunately, as long as we do not have a mass vaccination, it will be necessary to maintain all care, which mainly includes social distance, use of masks covering mouth and nose and hand hygiene and objects touched frequently", he adds.