High School Networking Skills – Yes

School, an integral part of everyone’s life; the fabled place of learning, the institution of education. Many have argued that an holistic education plays a strong part in a child’s development and transition to the working adult, and that this wholesome education plays an important role in the future success of the child. And yet today, despite the effort, cash and foresight our society has put into the education system, we are asking ourselves whether networking skills should be taught in school. Well, I propose in this argument that not only should networking skills be taught in high school, but education of these networking skills should start as early as possible, preferably from primary school. Networking skills should be taught, because it is an important proponent in the ability of individuals to function well in society, and preparing children to function well in society later on in their lives is the original, and current, purpose of schools in the first place.

Before I begin my argument, I will define clearly the premise of this argument. ‘Networking skills’ would refer to the knowledge of setting up a social circle from complete strangers, the ability to gain many helpful acquaintances in a short period of time. It is closely related to social skills, because a person with good social skills (the ability to form friendships with strangers) would most probably have good networking skills as well, due to their inherent ability to earn friendship and trust easily. The premise of the debate, therefore, is whether networking skills should be taught in high school, because of its importance and its difficulty to learn.

So, why should we teach networking skills in school at all? The easiest argument to establish is that networking skills is an important skill in life; it can help to expand one’s social circle as quickly as possible, which allows the person to gain and disseminate information and knowledge quickly, and thus allows him to utilize and take advantage of as many available opportunities as possible. This increases their standing in society, and thus also increases their individual worth and possible contribution to society. Simply put, networking skills = larger social circle = more opportunities = greater chance of success, and therefore a person with good networking skills has a higher chance of success than one without such skills.

Now then, what is the purpose of a school, or education for that matter? The main and sole purpose of education is to equip a child with as many skills as possible, to prepare him for his adult working life, and to give him a greater chance of success in achieving status. So logically, doesn’t this mean that a school should teach as many life skills as possible to the children, including networking skills? If we establish that networking skills are an integral part of adult and work life, then we can also say that schools have an obligation to teach them networking skills, as it is a part of their overall goal.

But the opposition’s main argument will probably be, ‘Won’t the children learn these skills naturally, as part of the process of growing up?’ And thus I rebuke them; are you willing to leave them to learn through hardships, trial and error, and take the chance that they might learn a distorted and incomplete version of the skills, or maybe even not at all? True enough, most will learn the required networking skills over time as they realise the need for these skills, but some, especially social recluses, might never learn these skills at all. And even those who do learn these skills, will encounter trials, hardship and much wasted time on the path of learning, and would miss out on many opportunities in life as a result; this defeats the whole purpose of networking skills in the first place! If the children suffers trials and tribulations in the working world, to end up learning only a fragment of the skill which could have been taught from young; how successful does that make our education system?

The other chief argument, I suppose, would be that networking skills cannot be taught, at least not in whole. They would say that it is a practical skill, not a theoretical one, and teaching it in the classroom would lead to a standardized, monotonous, and incomplete social environment. Well, think about it; who said that the skills had to be taught in the classroom with a textbook? Most people would realise that the earliest socially-conducive environment they were ever put in, was high school. The status quo between the popular and unpopular, the constant conversation and gossip, the ‘work’ of homework and classroom work; one would come to realise that school is merely a toned-down version of the working world, meant to prepare the kids for exactly such an environment.

So, why not teach the kids networking skills, by intensifying this environment? Increased voluntary projects and activities, whether community work or school work, with added incentives like prizes, would make the students scramble to grab these opportunities, and naturally make them either expand or get closer to their social circle in order to achieve the best possible chance to win. Other ideas, which make students interact further and pit them against each other to compete for a prize would simulate the opportunities encountered during real life.

So, should high schools teach their students networking skills? Unless they want to go against the very purpose they were created for, I’d suggest they rack their brains and come up with a viable and creative teaching method quickly!