Although it has been a major priority of the Soviet government since 1917, when the Bolsheviks initiated a mass literacy campaign, adult education in the USSR has received comparatively little attention from Western scholars. This book is the first Western account of the people's universities--the decentralized, nonformal arms of the vast Soviet system of continuing education. Based on the only on-site studies thus far conducted by a Westerner, it focuses on the ideological, institutional, and pedagogical dimensions of the system and assesses its goals, methods, and achievements in terms of both educational values and the larger objectives of Soviet society. Lee first provides an overview of theories of Soviet continuing education and looks at people's universities in the context of Soviet adult education as a whole. He traces the origins and development of people's universities between 1896 and 1968 and examines the goals and curriculum of the system. The next chapter deals with structural and administrative organization together with teacher training, teaching methods, and student evaluation procedures. Following a case study of the People's University of Culture at Leningrad, the author explores the linkages between people's universities and other institutions--both educational and political--and analyzes the impact of these connections and their significance for the future of the universities. He presents detailed statistics on the development of people's universities and a bibliography that includes Soviet archival materials not previously available to Western scholars. Lee's book explores a new area of scholarship of interest to Soviet specialists while giving an unusually clearpicture of how particular political and economic aims continue to shape Soviet institutions.