A global education summit in London is aiming to raise $5bn (£3.6bn) to get 88 million more children into school in some of the world’s poorest countries.
The UK has promised £430m to the Global Partnership for Education, which gathers aid from donor countries to support education in 92 countries.
The event, hosted by the UK and Kenya, will provide aid for the next five years, supporting 175 million children.
During the day world leaders will make funding pledges.
“Too many children around the world – girls in particular – were already out of school before the pandemic,” said UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
“Enabling them to learn and reach their full potential is the single greatest thing we can do to recover from this crisis,” he said, urging the international community to contribute.
However, Mr Johnson has faced criticism, including from some of his own MPs, for pushing ahead with a cut in the UK’s overseas aid budget.
The aim of the Global Partnership for Education is to boost education in low-income countries, which it argues will improve the health, prosperity and opportunities for some of the world’s most deprived communities.
Kenya’s cabinet secretary for foreign affairs Raychel Omamo warned of the disruption caused by the pandemic – but said “education is the pathway, the way forward”.
Opening the event, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab emphasised the value of investing in girls’ education as the “engine of progress” – with better-educated mothers improving the health and wellbeing of their families.
Education for girls is the “biggest game-changer”, he told the summit.