Somali government on Tuesday said it was to give education the same priority as defense and security as a key gathering of education experts started in the Somali capital. Two decades of conflict devastated Somalia\'s education infrastructure with schools and other institutions ruined in the horn of Africa nation. Somali prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon said \"education will be the foundation of a new Somalia\" at the opening of a landmark education reform meeting the \"National Education Conference\" opened in Mogadishu. \"Education must be at the heart of every civilised country\'s agenda and Somalia is no different,\" Somali Prime Minister told the 150 education experts at conference in the Somali capital. \"Through education we fight poverty, illiteracy and ignorance and we promote social development,\" the prime minister said. The three-day conference is hosted by the Somali Ministry of Human Development and Social Services and supported by United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and United Nations children\'s fund (UNICEF). The gathering brings together not only government policymakers, representatives from regional authorities, but also religious leaders, academics, private schools and universities, diaspora Somalis, civil society groups, and members of Somalia\'s international partners. The conference participants are expected to focus on the current situation of the country\'s education system which has been devastated by 22 years on conflict. Experts at the conference will, according to the Somali government, assess \"access to basic primary and secondary education, especially to vulnerable groups; teacher education and a Somali curriculum\". They will also be looking in ways of improving teacher education and a Somali curriculum, as well as strengthening ministries, skills training and improving tertiary education. Somali Prime Minister said education must be revived now that peace has returned to most of Somalia following the ouster of Al Shabaab militants from much of the country. \"We urgently need to re-establish our education system, which has been devastated by two decades of fighting,\" Prime Minister Shirdon said, adding that Somalia has already lost a generation to war. Somalia\'s new constitutions gives every child the right to free primary and secondary education but analysts say as the new government struggles to assert its authority in the country, the realization of that constitutional pledge at moment remains a distant dream. As the country recovers from two decades of chaos the Somali government is hopeful that the country\'s education system will be revived and that education will be the foundation for rebuilding Somalia. \"Now is the time for Somalia to show what we can achieve together and reap the dividends of peace. Without education we will not build a new Somalia,\" Prime Minister Shirdon said. Shirdon said that in recent years many Somali children have been brainwashed by \"false religious training\" and pledged that the new education system should change all that. \"A new education system must deliver proper religious instruction, rise above clannism, improve the position of teachers and enhance the condition of school building,\" said the Somali Prime Minister. The education conference in Mogadishu is expected to conclude with recommendations and agree an action plan that the Somali government hopes \"will deliver benefits to a new generation of Somali children\".