Arms manufacturing companies are luring young British children by hosting annual competitions in their schools showcasing their bombs and missiles.
Leading British newspaper the Observer reports that the arms manufacturers are spending millions of pounds a year to promote their brands in Britain’s schools.
These companies which sell tens of billions of pounds of weapons to different countries, are sponsoring a series of school events at which their brands are prominently on display.
Interestingly, the body representing the defence sector says such an approach is vital if the UK is to produce a future generation of engineers.
Campaign Against Arms Trade is demanding that the such companies be kicked out of the classrooms, stating that schools are vital to society and should never be used as commercial vehicles for arms companies.
“When these companies are promoting themselves to children they are not talking about the deadly impact their weapons are having,” says Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade.
The critical question that needs an answer is are we investing in a diverse portfolio of programmes aimed at encouraging more young people to study STEM (science, technology, engineering, maths) subjects?
To this, Raytheon, which is one of the biggest arms companies in the world, proudly says – “The company supports STEM-related programmes in primary schools, secondary schools, universities and colleges.”
“Our STEM initiatives are crucial to grow talent as well as maintain the long-term pipeline of resources in our company and industry. Industry at all levels, academia and government must work collaboratively to create the right environment for the UK to prosper, and we must exploit our competitive advantage in order to drive overseas trade growth as well as inwards investment into the UK.”
Raytheon UK is among many companies dealing with a shortage of scientists, technologists and engineers in an age where demand for those occupations is running high.
May be, the world is moving increasingly fast and quite unpredictably – and is full of opportunities, which the arms companies are exploiting with big ambitions under the guise of making our lives better, to keep us safer.
Look at another large arms company Thales which is producing teaching resources and lesson plans for teachers and is holding regional events across the country.
Thales has designed a missile simulator as a new activity for children to play with that related to our work and would help inspire them to consider engineering for a future career.
And to quote Leonardo, the Italian company that makes naval artillery and armoured vehicles – “Leonardo actively supports education and skills development through partnerships with schools, colleges and universities throughout the country, investing substantially in school engagement and supporting Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) curriculums.”
It is pertinent to note that Britain is the second biggest arms dealer in the world. Two-thirds of UK weapons have been sold to Middle Eastern countries since 2010.
UK has sold more arms than Russia, China, or France on average over the last 10 years. Only the United States is a bigger exporter.