A Year 10 student from north Ambae studying at Saint Patricks (Vureas) College died from electrical shock on Wednesday this week.
The incident happened when the student was exposed to electrical wiring in the ablution block of his dormitory. He was taken to Lolowai Hospital and pronounced dead.
Principal of St Patricks on Ambae, John Tari, has confirmed the incident.
How he was electrocuted in the ablution block cannot be confirmed at the moment but Principal Tari conveyed that the incident resulted from students creating an unauthorized power point in the ablution ceiling, so that they can hide to charge phones or electrical devices brought to school illegally.
“This practice is occurring in many schools in Vanuatu.Our school rule states that anyone caught playing with the school’s electrical connection or creating authorized power points will be withdrawn immediately. We have reminded our students about this recently during orientation,” said Principal Tari.
The school head said the school’s electrical safety is not the fault.
According to Principal Tari, the school’s wiring has just been fixed by an electrician who has been in the school.
The student’s sudden death is a wake up call to all education authority boards and principals to have maintenance policy in place, said the Director of Education Services, Roy Obed.
“The Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) is frustrated about the loss. We share our sympathy to his parents and families in this sad time.
“We want to remind schools that maintenance and safety must always be their priority,” he said.
The MOET through the office of the Director of Education Services has instructed the school and the Anglican Church of Melanesia (AGCOM)- the authority controlling the school to submit a report on the death.
The body of the student was taken back to the school for the night after being pronounced dead at the hospital, for all students and teachers to pay their respect.
St Patricks College held a funeral service yesterday morning. The college also performed a custom ceremony to the parents of the student who traveled from north Ambae to the school to receive his body.
Principal Tari said the purpose of the custom ceremony was to “say sorry”.
The deceased was a new student at St Patricks, he was laid to rest yesterday (March 1) on his 20th birthday.