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CLL is a non-credit Unit in CEES, Makerere University. Its emergence as a semi-autonomous non-credit Unit in CEES can be traced way back to February 2011 when Makerere University started implementing a College System of Governance in which certain Academic Units were either merged, or spilt or renamed.

In the process of realigning the different Schools, Faculties and Institutes into Colleges, the former Institute of Adult and Continuing Education (IACE) which comprised of the three Departments of: Adult Education and Communication Studies (DAECS), CEEMS and Distance Education (DE) was merged with the former School of Education to form CEES. In the process, the former CEEMS department, one of the oldest Departments of Makerere University formed in 1953, was dissolved, re-conceptualized and renamed CLL. Meanwhile the former IACE became the School of Distance and Lifelong Learning (SoDLL) and the former DAECS became Department of Adult and Community Education (DACE).

In the new dispensation, DACE inherited the academic programmes of the former CEEMS while the country-wide infrastructure and non-credit programmes of the former CEEMS were taken over by CLL including offering consultancy services to Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Private Sector Organization (PSOs) and Central as well as Local Government Agencies, hence making it a direct channel through which the University can directly reach and interact with the community as highlighted in its mandate.