The Education Ministry has promised to allocate 500 hours a year to advanced English classes for native speakers starting next year after the track was almost scrapped because of legal issues. "The director-general of the Education Ministry has decided to budget 500 hours for the subject next year." Moshe Diklo of the Education Ministry told the Knesset Education Committee last week. "We are planning to investigate the issue and budget whatever is necessary." The future of the classes was put in jeopardy by the ministry's legal department, which ruled it was illegal for the parents of those children in the native-speaker track to pay separately for those classes, as they had been doing until then. Michel Shaul, who was one of several parents who turned to the courts over the summer to prevent the cancellation of these classes, told The Jerusalem Post Monday that she was very pleased with the ministry's commitment. "This is a great triumph for Anglo-Saxon parents. Now they don't have to worry about their children's English education. If the children would have been put back two levels and in with the rest of the children and taught by non-native speakers, it would have been a problem. Parents would have had to pay out of their own pockets for private English tutoring," Shaul said. At the meeting, Committee Chair Michael Melchior (Labor-Meimad) welcomed the decision but also critiqued the decision-making process. "The problem is that, first of all, the ministry wanted to shut down these classes for the current year. "The damage has already been done. The information about the intention to shut down the classes was already widely disseminated, and this is an unfortunate message that was sent out by the state, which is making an effort to bring more immigrants, particularly from Western countries. There won't be a single immigrant who will accept the fact that - in addition to his many expenses - he will have to pay for English to be taught to his children. "As part of the global village, we want our exemplary youngsters to be able to fit in to the world of science and knowledge, and a significant part of that is learning English to an international standard. I congratulate the ministry on its announcement that it is adding more hours, but that will only happen next year," Melchior said.