Mary Matha Arts & Science College

Project on Empowerment through News Reading : PEN-R


The Project on Empowerment through News Reading (PEN-R) is a flagship programme of the College designed to empower students of Wayanad, especially majority of the students who are first generation graduates.
The College has envisioned the programme believing firmly that knowledge is power. News reading provides students with access to information and knowledge about the world beyond their immediate surroundings. The exposure to diverse perspectives and ideas broaden their horizons and inspire them to think critically. Through PEN-R, students develop essential skills such as reading comprehension and the ability to analyse and evaluate information. They also learn to distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources, form informed opinions and voice them. This enables them to stay informed about local and global issues, understand their rights and responsibilities, and actively participate in discussions and debates.
The active engagement with news leads to increased civic awareness and involvement, empowering students to become agents of change in their communities. The distinguished alumni of the College like Vinod K Jose, former Executive Editor, The Caravan, Dr Sarath Sasi, Assistant Professor, IIT Palakkad, Dr E M Aneesh, DST SERB SIRE Fellow and Assistant Professor, University of Calicut, and Dr V H Nishad, Author and Assistant Professor, Sir Syed College, Taliparamba, are examples of our students metamorphosing into responsible and committed individuals contributing to community development.
Furthermore, as Wayanad is isolated from other districts of Kerala due to the presence of ghat roads and absence of rail and air travel, our students have limited exposure in comparison with the exposure to opportunities available to their counterparts in the rest of the state and country. News reading and discussions based on news have inspired several students to pursue higher education and better career opportunities.


  1. To enhance English language proficiency of the students
  2. To enhance social awareness and general knowledge of the students
  3. To promote social intervention through news reading.

The practice

Every class has a student representative responsible for collecting the newspaper from the office and distributing it in their respective classrooms. Students are assigned different activities based on news reading. Many activities are organised by the departments based on news reading to improve the language, general awareness and subject knowledge of the students. For example the Computer Science department emphasizes the importance of reading technology-related news and first-year students in particular receive assignments based on these topics. Each day, a designated student is tasked with finding and writing down tech-related news to display on the department's notice board. The Department of English conducts activities aimed at language development and creating awareness about different social issues. To improve language and communication skills, the students are asked to read newspapers and write unfamiliar words in a notebook. The activity requires them to find the meanings of the words, learn them and use them in sentences. The students are made to present the same in the class. During the presentations, discussions about the leading news of the week are conducted. Students voice their opinions about various social issues

As part of the PEN R initiative, students are given the opportunity to present news through the public announcement system. Each student is given individual training by the teachers of the English department. Focus is given on language, vocabulary and presentation skills. Volunteers from all departments participate in the programme. Students who perform well and show improvement in their language skills are given opportunities to participate in other activities like being masters of ceremony at various events, internships at media firms etc.

As part of the PEN-R initiative, the daily news from seven newspapers viz Mathrubhumi,Malayala Manorama, Deepika, Madhyamam Mangalam, The Hindu and The Indian Express is compiled in the library and circulated in the students’ WhatsApp groups.

Television news is displayed in the common areas of the College and in the library so that students are kept abreast of the events happening in the world.

Various activities like elocution competitions, debates, essay writing competitions, quiz competitions etc. are organised at the department level to develop the language/ communication skills and to improve general knowledge of the students.

The extension activities of the college are connected to news reading and a discussion is organised before the students actually perform the extension activity. The students discuss the specific problems mentioned in the news and analyse how their contribution can create a positive change in the society.