Glasgow Science Centre has faced criticism over plans to roll out stem school programmes across Glasgow and the west in conjunction with several major arms firms.
While further specialised stem programmes in underfunded schools will be welcomed across the board, concerns have been raised about the focus of the courses and the influence of major arms firms and UK military bodies.
Three of the eight partners announced are major arms companies, all involved in the production of the UK’s new nuclear armed submarine fleet; BAE Systems, Thales and Rolls Royce. Two are divisions of the UK armed forces; the RAF and the Navy. The other three partners announced are the NHS, Barclays and Morrison Construction.
As well as helping to shape the programme, the arms firms partnering will be offering placements and work experience within their firms, with 200 pencilled in for the first three years.
BAE Systems are major suppliers to the Saudi Arabian regime, amongst many other national governments accused of human rights abuses.
Thales are also major suppliers to the Saudi government, and specialise in the production of drones, electronic surveillance and missiles. Alongside fellow partners Rolls Royce and BAE, Thales are heavily involved in the production of the UK’s new nuclear weapons armed submarine fleet, and are contracted to make parts for the new subs in their Glasgow factory. Over 2800 employees at BAE are working solely on the new generation of the UK’s nuclear weapons fleet.
Glasgow Science Centre is currently running exhibitions on climate change, such as the Powering our Future exhibition looking at the development of renewable energy and encouraging engagement.
Despite this exhibition and drives by the Scottish Government and it’s agencies to create more jobs in the sector, no renewable energy or green energy companies will be taking part in the schools programme.
As well as the deadly impact of the weapons produced by arms firms in the UK, studies have found it is also a major polluter.
Earlier this summer it was reported that the UK arms industry emits 1.46 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent annually, a similar output to all UK domestic flights over a 12 month period. BAE systems is estimated to be responsible for around 30% of the UK arms manufacturers emissions.