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The KiVa method, an idea that is ending bullying

The KiVa method, an idea that is ending bullying

May 6, 2021

In Spain, 70% of school children of 15 years have been victims or executioners (in many cases, both) of bullying, both in person and through new technologies.

Experts point out that this type of harassment exists in all human societies , and have asked schools to accept the problem in order to study and implement measures aimed at preventing it where it may appear and make it disappear where it exists.

The KiVa method is one of the most promising proposals in this regard .

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The origins of the KiVa method

Finland is a country that allocates great resources to education, since the latter is considered a state issue of great relevance. In recent years the Nordic country has proposed to end school harassment and improve the educational system in its different aspects .


The reflection of this is that Finland has achieved in recent years the worthy first place in higher education, primary education and training in the Global Competitiveness Index (ICG) thanks to the importance given to education in recent times. All measures aimed at education have helped to create a powerful workforce with the right skills to adapt to a constantly changing socio-economic context that has caused high levels of technological development.

The Finnish educational system: one of the best in the world

Finland is currently one of the most creative and innovative nations of the U.E and the world, ranking second in the ranking, (the first place is held by Switzerland). At the moment when the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) elaborated the PISA report, the Nordic country got the top positions in education .


However, the Finnish education system is not perfect: Finland also suffers the disastrous epidemic of school bullying. With what tool do you solve bullying in Finland? Well with the KiVa program .

The KiVa program

The term KiVa arises from the union of the words "Kiusaamista Vastaan" (in Finnish, against bullying).

Thanks to this proposal, Finland is managing to eradicate bullying. This method is applied in 90% of the basic education schools , and its success is such that it has become an essential tool when evaluating and choosing any center of the Finnish educational system, both to work, in the case of teachers, and to study, in the case of students.

The experimentation stage

The KiVa program was created at the proposal of the Finnish government and the educational community; "The project began to be introduced randomly in Finnish schools," explains Christina Salmivalli, professor of Psychology and one of the inventors of the program.


Years later a study was conducted (one of the largest in the country, by the way) to see how the program evolved and the impact it had on students. The results were apotheosis: the KiVa program had diminished all types of harassment in the institutes and colleges. The siege of bullying had begun to work. In fact, bullying disappeared in 80% of schools . Spectacular figures that, logically, have aroused the interest of the international educational community.

Long-term results against bullying

After a year the researchers realized that the number of children and adolescents who suffered from bullying had decreased by 41%. But the method not only solved the problem but the program also enhanced the comfort of the students and the motivation of these when studying, shooting through this way the good grades.

The Embassy of Finland in Madrid states that 98 percent of the 1,000 schools that collaborated in the program in 2009 believed that school life had improved significantly during the first year in which the KiVa method was applied, something that many studies confirm.

Such is the success of the program that the KiVa method has received the European Crime Prevention Prize in 2009, among others.

One of the best ways to understand the potential of this KiVa program against bullying is through an example. At the Karamzin school they had a serious problem of bullying, so the KiVa program was launched at the school during 2008: During the first year of implementation, school bullying was reduced by 60% .

How does the KiVa method work?

The method used in the KiVa program is not to focus on the dialectic of confrontation between victim and stalker (or treat the victim to be more extraverted or try to change the stalker to develop empathy) but is based on acting on the student witnesses who laugh at such a situation.

In many cases, these viewers internalize that what happens is normal, even fun, even if they have a different underlying opinion. What is intended to be done through the method is to influence these spectators so that they do not participate indirectly in the harassment . If this is achieved, the harasser, who needs recognition to continue bullying, stops harassing because it does not bring him any benefit.

In short, the program is based on trying to prevent spectators from laughing at the young people who are the aggressor in the harassment. Simple, but effective.

The details of the program

In the KiVa program, students are instructed in about 20 classes at 7, 10 and 13 years (key ages in the child's development) to identify the different forms of bullying. In this way they are already aware from very small.

There are ten syllabuses and assignments that are made throughout the course and where moral values ​​such as empathy and respect for others are taught. A lot of resources are used: lectures, videogames, manuals for teachers, surveillance at recess, feature films ... even a virtual mailbox to report if they are witnesses or victims of bullying.

The KiVa team

In every school, the director chooses a KiVa team composed of three adults who detect and investigate cases of school harassment r .

First, they determine if the harassment is punctual or continuous. Then they talk to the victim to reassure her. Later they talk with the stalkers to sensitize them and with the witnesses, who are the cornerstone of the program, in this way they reduce school bullying.

The potential of the method

This drastic change in a series of Finnish schools can give an idea of ​​the qualitative changes at the social level that this type of programs could have not only in schools, but in the different cultural strata of adults educated by these methods.

If already from the earliest stages we are educated to not passively support acts of violence of this kind, it is conceivable that the mentality of adults also changes in many ways. Only time will tell if this kind of sudden cultural changes come to occur . The repercussions of the KiVa program can go far beyond the fight against bullying, they can be the seed for a more just, united and cohesive society.


Anti-Bullying Learning and Teaching Resource (ALTER) Catholic Education Office, Wollongong (May 2021).


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