Alumni portrait - Guri Melby - NTNU Alumni
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Position: Minister of Education and Integration
Education: Master in Nordic Language and Literature and Practical Teacher Training (PPU)
Wants to give everyone equal opportunity for education
For now, Guri Melby does not yet have the answer to what a normal working day looks like for her as The Minister of Education and Integration. Her first day in the position was just the day after all nurseries and schools were closed.
– I hit the ground running, I started on 13 March and it was crisis management from the first moment, says Guri Melby.
The interview appointment with the Minister of Education and Integration has been canceled several times. But then, literally every minute of Melby's life has been dedicated to navigating a completely extraordinary situation as a result of Norway introducing the most stringent measures in peacetime on 12 March, including the closure of all schools and nurseries.
– It has been hectic and unpredictable, the days have been characterized by dealing with what is current here and now, says Melby, during a quick interview one Wednesday after Question Time in the Parliament.
Learnt how to learn
– What has been the most important skill you have gained from NTNU?
– Basically it is about learning how to learn, how to quickly acquire new knowledge and a critical view on information. Through the master's dissertation, I learnt how to work independently and collect data, and how to relate to a lot of knowledge and be able to determine what is relevant, says Melby.
She holds a master's degree in Nordic languages and literature and has studies Practical Pedagogical Education (in Norwegian "PPU").
Before becoming a minister, she spent two years in Parliament, including as Member of the Standing Committee on Education and Research for the Liberal Party.
Both politician and teacher
Melby has been active in politics in the Liberal Party since she was a student at NTNU. She believes a long-standing political commitment, plus having worked as a teacher both in high school and as a college lecturer, is the reason she was offered the position of Minister of Education and Integration.
She is pleased she has one foot in politics and another in the education sector now that she is a minister. During this period of Covid-19, she has benefited tremendously from her experiences as a teacher.
– We need knowledge to solve the climate challenges, develop the new business and apply modern welfare technology. Then we also need a world-class educational system. If we want to reach the goal of a better school, we must have motivated teachers who are skilled and trusted adults. To believe in the teacher is to believe in the student, says Melby, according to her profile on the Oslo Liberal Party website.
Motivated by learning new things
– What motivates you in the job as Minister of Education and Integration?
– It is about having a commitment to the area I'm working on. Working in education is giving everyone equal opportunities, regardless of where they grow up. It motivates me to achieve results as well as learning new things. You can experience both as a teacher and as a politician!
– What are the most interesting challenges you are dealing with currently?
– At this particular moment my job is to lead a very diverse educational Norway through a crisis situation. Schools are very different, and have different challenges and strengths, and we have to manage them in such a way that everyone can find their best solutions while ensuring that all students get the right to education.
Giving the society the expertise it requires
– NTNU's vision is knowledge for a better world. In what way do you as former student of NTNU contribute to bringing knowledge into society? What problems and challenges are being solved?
– My driving force as Minister of Education is to secure all equal opportunities - and equal access to education is the most important tool for doing just that. By making Norwegian education better, we ensure that the individual can realise their ambitions and use their potential, and we contribute to giving society the skills we need, says Melby.
Text: Lisbet Jære / Photo: The Prime Minister's Office