The 6th International Educational Innovation Congress drew thousands of participants to Mexico City, where they examined new trends in the field, science education and the role of non-governmental organizations in setting educational policy, an organizer said.

"Our idea is that as a civil society we should participate in education, not be satisfied with the initiatives of authorities and unions," Ibero-American Association for Education Partnerships president Isaac Moscatel told Efe.

The association and Mexico's ORT Organization have been organizing the congress since 2008.

The two-day congress, which ended on Wednesday, drew more than 5,000 teachers, administrators, education professors, psychologists, officials and members of the public.

Non-governmental organizations have been trying to gain more say in how education policy is set in Mexico, whose school systems are plagued with numerous problems.

The 2009 Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, ranked Mexico last among the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, member countries and 48th out of the 65 countries evaluated.

President Enrique Peña Nieto proposed on Dec. 10 that the constitution be amended to promote educational quality and give the government control over teaching.

Congress approved the reforms on Dec. 21 and the majority of state legislatures gave their approval on Jan. 16, opening the way for implementation.

The reforms call for creating a teaching profession free of union interference, with a system for evaluating educators overseen by an independent body. EFE