This article is an abbreviated version of the BAICE Presidential Address held at the 11th UKFIET International Conference in Oxford on September 16, 2011. It discusses debates on the use of a foreign and ex-colonial language as a language of instruction (LOI) in African schools and argues that the quality of education cannot be seen as an issue separate from the LOI. Nevertheless, the World Bank 2020 strategy, 'Learning for All', does not mention the language in which learning is to take place. The article then discusses policy changes in Rwanda where English was made the LOI from the first grade in 2008, and examines the use of 'Timms-like' testing. Taking the example of text messaging and chat amongst students in Dakar and Dar es Salaam, it considers how new information and communication technologies seem to offer opportunities for change where linguistic policy has failed.