ADAM Price has called for an additional £1 billion to be invested into education in Wales.

The AM for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, who is challenging Leanne Wood for Plaid Cymru leadership along with Rhun Ap Iorweth, says Wales should become the "knowledge nation of the new modern age".

Mr Price described Wales as a "country crying out for new ideas" and has proposed a 1p tax increase to invest in education.

That, he says, will enable the country to invest more than £1 billion more in schools, colleges and universities over an assembly term, allowing Wales to aim "to be the best country in Europe in which to be young."

Writing in the Sunday Times, Mr Price added: "Diverting £150 million from a flabby economy department could fund £2.5 billion in capital through long-term borrowing.

"We could create innovation campuses throughout Wales not just in SA1, and new specialist universities and colleges in areas of unmet skill needs like Newport's nascent Software University - and build 21st century schools for everyone, not just the lucky few.

"We could end the crisis in our education system that has driven us spiralling to the bottom of the Global PISA rankings, turning teaching into a valued, high-paid, high-skilled profession once more.

"We could turn further education from forgotten Cinderella sector to the high-powered engine of a new European style vocational system.

"Wales could be the knowledge nation of the coming machine age.

"When Ireland, in the late 70s, faced a similar fork in the road between continuing failure or alternative future, it decided to embark on a massive programme of fiscal expansion.

"But as much of the money was invested in education it was enough to awake the crouching Celtic Tiger. Whether our own hidden Dragon is to emerge from its slumber, and how, are the fundamental questions every would-be leader needs to answer."