The Man Who Wants Young Indonesians To Go To University

Gadis Lukman

For Setra Yappi, founder of, higher education changed his life. While studying Petroleum Engineering at the University of Texas, he met people from many different walks of life and had many amazing experiences. But, the most important thing that came out of his time in college that he began to ponder his life’s purpose, search for meaning, and find his sense of self and independence, no letting others dictate what he should do or think.

Like many of us, Setra’s university years were a game-changer. And it was this knowledge, that motivated him to establish, a leading higher education portal which gives young Indonesians admission to information on over 1,000 universities across the country, including tuition fees, admission deadlines and program accreditation.

Only 30% of Indonesian high school students continue to higher education, according to research from the Ministry of Education in 2013. The staggering majority of youth prefer to go straight to work after graduating. As Setra recognised, there’s not much information about higher education available to the public, resulting in low enrollment rates. 

Apart from offering information on local universities, there’s also the Sarjana Task Force whose staff and volunteers visit high school classrooms, education fairs, workshops and competitions, spreading news on college education. The task force runs free workshops on career training and even one called One-Day University, an orientation for freshmen to discover campus life, education and financing.

On top of that Sarjana offers counselling programmes and magazines to help the students better understand university programmes and career options – so they can make well-informed decisions about their future.

Using a very simple, content-driven design, this platform caters to the limited internet access in some parts of the country, and and has received 440,000 active visitors and 1,000,000 page views since its launch in August 2014. They’ve worked with 350 high schools and counselled over 200 students, assisting them with applications as well as how to choose the right course.

Most recently Sarjana launched a platform for students to trade used textbooks - to help them save on the hefty cost of academic literature. The initiative hopes to address the limited access to affordable textbooks, particularly in less developed areas of Indonesia.

In the next few years, Sarjana aims to create even more reliable technology to encourage more students to explore higher education.

To find out more, please visit Sarjana's website or email


 If you want to find more about socially conscious living in Asia, check out Asia For Good's social enterprise directory.


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