Diplomas and Certificates of Skill Development Council

Diplomas and Certificates of Skill Development Council Case Laws Civil Law Employment & Incentives Knowledge - Civil Law Litigation & Arbitration Public & Admin Law Solutions - Civil Law Supreme Court Vocational Training Mr. Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan in his judgment has decided the issue regarding diplomas and certificates of Skill Development Council in the disciplines of art, craft, education and physical education in Civil Appeals No. 843 of 2012 etc.

1. These appeals with the leave of the Court have arisen out of the judgments dated 23.04.2012, 29.5.2012, 12.06.2012, 15.5.2012, 25.4.2013, 30.05.2013, 11.9.2013, 16.9.2013, 27.6.2013, 14.5.2014, 10.6.2014, 15.5.2014, 3.6.2014 and 02.04.2014 of the Lahore High Court, Lahore, Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi Bench, Rawalpindi and Peshawar High Court, Peshawar whereby they dismissed the Intra Court Appeals and Writ Petitions filed by the appellants. Civil Petition No. 3774 of 2015 has arisen out of the judgment dated 23.09.2015 of the High Court of Balochistan, Quetta whereby the petition filed by the petitioner was dismissed in limine. As the points urged in these appeals as well as petitions are identical, we dispose them of by this single judgment.

2. The learned AAG, Punjab appearing on behalf of the appellants contended that Skill Development Council was established under the National Training Ordinance, 1980 and the rules made thereunder, for providing technical and vocational training and not for awarding any certificate or diploma in the fields of art, craft, education or physical education; and that the Skill Development Council overstepped its limits by offering courses in the fields mentioned above and issuing certificates or diplomas therein. He next contended that since the certificates or diplomas issued by the Skill Development Council do not conform to the course, curriculum or training required for art, craft, education or physical education, any appointment made on the basis of such certificate or diploma being against the provisions of the Ordinance and rules made thereunder is liable to be annulled. Even the National Training Board, the learned AAG maintained, constituted under the Ordinance cannot issue any directive to protect any such diploma or certificate when its role in the whole affair is recommendatory. The learned AAG to support his contention also placed reliance on the letter No: SO(SE-IV)4-461/09 dated 16.08.2010 issued by the Secretary Schools Education Department, Govt. of Punjab. The learned Additional A.G. KPK endorsed the arguments of learned AAG, Punjab.

3. Learned ASC appearing on behalf of respondents contended that where respondents have qualified diplomas or certificates under the aegis of Skill Development Council in the fields of art, craft, education or physical education, their appointments were rightly made on the basis of such diplomas and certificates in various departments of Government, therefore, no exception could be taken to their appointments at this stage. Such appointments, the learned ASC contended, cannot be undone even under the doctrine of locus poententia, when not only decisive steps have been taken, but valuable rights have also accrued to the respondents. Learned ASC went on to argue that many respondents whose appointments have been made on the basis of diplomas or certificates issued by the Skill Development Council, also possessed requisite qualifications at the time of their appointments and many acquired it after their appointments, therefore, their appointments cannot be undone, even if it is assumed that the diplomas or certificates issued by the Council have no statutory sanction.

4. We have gone through the record carefully and considered the submissions of learned AAG Punjab, learned Addl. AG, KPK as well as learned ASCs for the respondents. What is National Training Board? What is Skill Development Council? What is vocational training? Answer to these questions and allied thereto are fully answered by Section 2 of the Ordinance. A careful reading of the provisions of the Ordinance and the Rules would reveal that domain of the National Training Board and Skill Development Council is clearly demarcated by the provisions of the Ordinance and Rules made thereunder. The purpose behind the establishment of Board is to provide technical education and vocational training in any physical and professional skill, trade, calling or occupation. The Board does not do all this in a vacuum. It makes a survey and systematic study of the market to assess the existing and future training needs, both at local and foreign level and establishes criteria for evaluating and determining training programmes and facilities. After doing so, it develops syllabi, establishes and specifies national training standards and trade testing rules to ensure horizontal and vertical mobility, develops system and conducts trade testing and certification of skilled workers who have received vocational training through any source or acquired skills through experience and informal system, as is provided in Section 4 of the Ordinance. The Skill Development Council as the very name suggests focuses on labour, market, information and launches technical education and vocational training in any physical and professional skill, trade, calling or occupation so that the people who cannot acquire higher or specialized education may get opportunities of employment, according to the needs and requirements of the market. Art, craft, education and physical education are well beyond the domain of the Council and capacity of its faculty. It thus could not launch programmes in any of these fields.

5. The Board and the Council travelled beyond what they were established for by launching programmes falling exclusively in the domain of art, craft, education or physical education. The letter reproduced above also clearly demarcated the domain of the Board and the Council. In spite of that the Council issued certificates and diplomas in such fields, even in respect of the courses of one year duration. Another amazing and intriguing fact is that appointments have been made on the basis of such diplomas and certificates in the educational institutions without caring to know that the Council does not have the power and competence to launch such programmes, courses and curriculums and issue certificates and diplomas in this behalf. The education being a specialized field having many dimensions in today’s context could not thus be left to the faculty which did not have specialized qualification and training therefor. Persons on the peak of Education Department went into deep slumber. Even if a few of them were awake, they watched the sight and spectacle with hands folded and legs crossed. By the time they realized and raised hue and cry, the water had gone above their heads. Yes, it is never too late to mend but what to do! Retain them, is the answer of the protagonists of status quo. Don’t worsen the bad if correction is possible, is the answer given by those who are guided by prudent and progressive outlook. We deliberated over the pros and cons of the answers thus given. The solution we have come out with is simple! Let them continue, if they besides the certificates or diplomas, issued by the Council, possess the requisite or equivalent qualifications. Let those also continue, who improved their qualifications even thereafter. Those who could not improve their qualification up till now should improve it within a period of one year, which would be reckoned from the date of commencement of the next available academic session of the respective programme. We, therefore, allow the appeals, convert the petitions into appeals and allow them in the terms mentioned above.

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