With controversies and two versions: what is known about the 2021 edition of Enem

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The National Secondary Education Examination (Enem) begins on November 21 with language, humanities and writing tests. On the 28th of November, the math and natural science tests will be applied.

The test locations are available on the registration confirmation card available on Enem’s official website. Unlike 2020, the print and digital versions will apply on the same date.

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According to the notice, participants who are not wearing an easy protective mask against the spread of Covid-19 will not be able to enter the sites for the exam.


The essay theme will be the same for the printed and digital versions in 2021. Even for those who opted for the digital test, the essay must be handwritten, requiring a black ballpoint pen with a transparent tube.

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To participate in selection programs at public universities such as the Unified Selection System (Sisu), or for scholarships at private universities such as the University for All Program (ProUni), it is necessary not to have scored a zero in the newsroom.

Controversies in the 2021 edition

Bolsonaro says that Enem “begins to have the face of the government”

President Jair Bolsonaro (no party) stated, on November 15, during a trip to Expo Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, that Enem this year “now starts to look like the government”, when answering a question about a crisis institutional at the National Institute of Educational Studies and Research Anísio Teixeira (Inep).

The body responsible for Enem, Inep had 37 employees who asked for collective resignation from their positions in response to what they classified as “mismanagement” of the institute, according to an official letter obtained by the policy analyst at the CNN Basilia Rodrigues.

“What led to those layoffs, I don’t want to go into details, but it’s absurd that it was spent with few people there. Inadmissible,” said Bolsonaro.

“What I consider a lot is that the questions of the Enem test are starting to take on the face of the government. No one needs to be concerned about those issues from the past, which fell into the writing theme that had nothing to do with anything, it really is something geared towards learning”, he added.

Milton Ribeiro says to CNN that there was no interference in Enem

The Minister of Education, Milton Ribeiro, stated in an interview with CNN, on November 16, that there was no interference in the exam, and that the controversies were nothing more than “pre-Enem noises”.

“Enem is guaranteed, the proofs have already been printed and forwarded. There is no way to interfere. The idea that there was interference is a narrative of those who want to politicize education. Education has no party”, said Ribeiro.

About the casualties at Inep, Ribeiro stated that “no server was fired”. According to the minister, this is because they are public servants who made their positions available. “Anyone who wants to leave can leave, because I’ve already received contacts from others at Inep who have the technical qualifications to take on the positions”.

The head of Education also said that they will only leave after applying the tests, as the dismissals are only valid after being published in the Official Gazette, which has not yet occurred.

“We gave them the competence to prepare the tests, so they will be with us until the end. Afterwards, if they decide to reaffirm the resignation of commissioned positions, they can do so. Nobody was sent away”, he added.

Bolsonaro claims that Enem has “political and behavioral activism”

President Jair Bolsonaro returned to criticize Enem, on November 17, saying that the exam preaches “political and behavioral activism”.

Making a comparison with Qatar, he said that the country in the Middle East has investment and progress and that, if Brazil wants to evolve in the same way, it needs to follow the same line.

“Here, they have been investing in education for decades. Look at the pattern of Enem in Brazil, for God’s sake. Does that measure some knowledge? Or is it political and behavioral activism?” asked Bolsonaro.

To the Education Committee of the Chamber, Milton Ribeiro says that “Enem does have the face of the government”

After appearing unexpectedly at the Chamber of Deputies Education Committee to provide clarifications on November 17, Education Minister Milton Ribeiro endorsed President Jair Bolsonaro’s statement that Enem would have the face of the government.

According to the minister, this would mean that the test takes place with “competence and honesty”.

Opposition politicians ask TCU to investigate Enem

Opposition politicians sent, on November 16, to the Federal Court of Accounts (TCU), a request for an investigation by Enem after meeting with minister Ana Arraes, president of the court.

The group stated that it would file an audit document after allegations of “mismanagement” by Inep employees who asked for joint dismissal.

The lawmakers also asked for the precautionary removal of the president of Inep, Danilo Dupas, who has already provided clarifications in the Chamber of Deputies last week.

Congress sets up a mixed commission to investigate layoffs at Inep

The National Congress will set up a mixed commission of deputies and senators to investigate the joint dismissal of Inep’s employees.

The commission intends to call the dismissed civil servants to give statements that clarify whether the allegations that there was government interference in the elaboration of the issues actually occurred.

Senator Izalci Lucas (PSDB-DF) will coordinate the work by the Senate. In the Chamber, it will be with deputy Rosa Neide (PT-MT).

The Minister of the Comptroller General of the Union (CGU), Wagner Rosário, will appear in the Chamber on December 1st to respond on the matter, after the approval of an extra-status application by the Special Education Commission.

(*With information from Isabella Faria, Basília Rodrigues, Mathias Brotero, Caio Junqueira, Giovanna Galvani and João de Mari, from CNN and Agência Brasil)

Reference: CNN Brasil

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