The use of information and communications technology (ICT) for education in developing countries has been a subject of great interest and speculation, with its proponents arguing that ICT improves educational quality, develops critical thinking skills, expands access, increases economic competitiveness and facilitates inclusion in a rapidly expanding global information society. However, few of these claims have been verified from an empirical standpoint, leading to substantial criticism of the push to expand ICT. This article analyses how the global discourse on ICT in education has unfolded in Nepal, concentrating on educational policies on ICT and how these relate to a rather limited domain of practice. It argues that policies on ICT in education reveal an uneasy and fragmented engagement with the global discourse, while in practice its use is often innovative although so limited as to cause little substantive change. However, in both policy and practice the importance of ICT is more due to its power as a symbol of modernity and progress than any utilitarian value.