The Minister of Education, Milton Ribeiro, worked behind the scenes in favor of a university center denounced for fraud in Enade 2019. The institution is presbyterian, as is the minister, who is a pastor.
The fraud would have occurred in the biomedicine course at Unifil, in Londrina (PR), after the leak of the higher education assessment.
Investigation by Inep (National Institute of Educational Studies and Research) concluded that there was strong evidence, especially statistical, of fraud after the undergraduate coordinator had access to the test and answers in advance.
Minister Ribeiro handled the case personally. He received the institution’s controllers and traveled to Londrina in the middle of the process, in addition to having his own secretary accompany a supervisory visit.
The institution is connected to the Central Presbyterian Church of Londrina. The chancellor of Unifil is pastor Osni Ferreira, leader of this church – his brother Eleazar Ferreira is the rector.
Osni and Eleazar were received by Ribeiro in his office on September 2 last year.
The MEC’s internal investigation against the institution was already well underway at that time. On the 26th of that month, a Saturday, Milton Ribeiro traveled to Londrina, without advisers from the portfolio, to visit Unifil. He gave a class and gave an interview with praise to the institution.
Ribeiro also took advantage of the same trip to preach, the next day (27), in the church led by Osni, supporter of President Jair Bolsonaro. In March last year, he called a motorcade to defend the president and criticize movement restrictions.
During the investigation, the minister delayed sending the case to the Federal Police, according to people close to the case. The technical area and the INEP Attorney’s Office had concluded the need for criminal investigation since mid-2020.
Ribeiro would have even threatened to dismiss INEP leaders if the investigation was taken to the PF. At the time, Alexandre Lopes chaired the body.
Information on Ribeiro’s performance was confirmed to the leaf by three high-level people involved with the theme. The message would have been given by the executive secretary of the portfolio, Victor Godoy Veiga.
In conversations and meetings at the MEC, according to people involved in the case, the minister and his main advisor were clear about the reason for preventing criminal investigation: it was a Presbyterian institution.
An official letter was only taken to the Federal Police in February of this year, after the MEC ended the investigation in a favorable way. Statistical evidence of the fraud, ascertained by Inep, was ignored in the decision.
In a statement, the ministry said the case had been referred to the police authority. “The entire investigation was carried out by the MEC in a technical manner, observing the legal provisions. All administrative acts performed are properly registered in the administrative process forwarded in full to the Federal Police by the MEC in February 2021”, says a note from the ministry.
Unifil did not respond to inquiries sent since April 27.
Enade is carried out by graduating students. The result composes quality indicators and impacts regulation – poor performance can cause the course to close.
A leaf had access to and analyzed more than 60 confidential documents of the process, including opinions, orders and emails. The report talked to 17 people, including members and former members of the MEC, evaluators and members of control bodies.
Inep received an anonymous tip on November 17, 2019, a week before Enade. In it, a student stated that the biomedicine coordinator at Unifil, Karina Gualtieri, would have leaked questions and feedback to students that month. The goal was to get maximum marks, which happened.
The complaint drew attention at Inep because Gualtieri did, in fact, have access to the material in advance: she is part of the commission that prepared the assessment for the government. Gualtieri did not respond to the report.
Inep kept the exam and then checked the data. Based on the first evidence, the institute blocked the results of the course in the dissemination of Enade 2019, in October.
The measure is unusual, although the body receives many complaints in each edition: about Enade 2019, 88 complaints were brought to Inep, but only in this case the result was vetoed because of the evidence of irregularities.
Inep technicians then compared the performance of Unifil with the average of the biomedicine courses in the country and also with the highest marks. It was concluded that it was statistically impossible for Unifil to achieve the result achieved.
Enade is divided into two components. In the General Training block, the institution was slightly worse than the best biomedicine courses in the country. On the other hand, in the Career Specific Knowledge block, in which the complaint is made, obtained 31.8 percentage points above the best graduations.
In 16 of the 22 questions in this part of the test, Unifil had yields above that recorded by the top grade courses. The difference was more than 50% higher in five questions and, in two of them, all 44 students in the test scored, while the level of correctness did not reach 40% in the other graduations at the top of the assessment.
“In view of the results of the statistical analyzes, it is considered that there is evidence of a leakage of feedback on the issues of Enade 2019, from the Biomedicine assessment area”, says opinion 133 of Inep.
The minister also returned to Londrina on November 22, a Sunday. He participated in two other services alongside Pastor Osni.
The day after that trip, Ribeiro called a meeting, outside the public agenda, to address the issue. The summons for the meeting, with the summit of MEC and Inep, on November 23, had the title “ENAD-UNIFIL (Biomedicine)” [sic].
In parallel to Inep’s investigation, the Ministry of Education (Secretariat of Regulation and Supervision of Higher Education) determined that a committee of evaluators should go to Unifil for a second analysis in December.
But Seres’ own secretary at the time, Danilo Dupas Ribeiro, was sent to personally accompany the procedure. Dupas Ribeiro was at Unifil on December 15th.
It was the only official trip he made in the six months he was responsible for Seres. When consulted, two ex-subfolder holders were surprised by the secretary’s presence in the supervision.
In this operation, evaluators analyze, for example, the performance of students in the course, compare the grade with what fell in Enade and can talk to alumni. One of the committee members told the leaf that everything was done seriously. This supervision does not, however, include statistical analysis of performance such as that carried out by Inep.
The report made contact with six biomedicine graduates at Unifil in 2019. Three agreed to grant an interview but interrupted the conversation when warned about the topic.
The process at Seres ended in favor of Unifil on 27 January. The subfolder determined the disclosure of the results, which occurred on February 12.
The minister dismissed Alexandre Lopes from the presidency of Inep on February 26. On the same day, he appointed Danilo Dupas Ribeiro himself to the position. Inep was questioned and did not return. Alexandre Lopes also did not answer.